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After recently completing their first semester, the Southeastern Technical Institute’s Dental Assisting students are advancing their skills by learning more about specialties within dentistry, utilizing their knowledge and skills in expanded functions, and beginning their clinical externships.

Last semester ended on a high note when the students were involved in a dental panel discussion with community dental assistants. All of the members are graduates from STI and are employed at various general and specialty practices within the region. The panelists included Kelsey Murphy (endodontics), Holly Connolly (general), Jennifer Conley (oral surgery), Stacey Morris (pediatrics and periodontics), and Alison Tangherlini (general and orthodontics). They discussed in detail their specialty area and what they experience as a dental assistant on a daily basis.

The dental assistants also emphasized their impact on patient care. One member shared a recent experience with the group involving a patient who had delayed treatment for a cancerous facial lesion. Because of their discussion the patient sought treatment which may  have saved the patient’s life.

All of their stories had an immense and immediate impact on both the current students and dental assisting instructors. As the STI graduates shared their personal experiences, it became evident that their roles are quite valuable to both patients and dentists. Kelsey Murphy  shared her perspective by stating “We are like dental nurses because we do so much. You get to take care of the patient; it’s really fun and rewarding.”

Each member of this panel came to Southeastern Technical Institute with a hunger for knowledge and ready to take advantage of everything that was offered. Today each assistant is a successful, respected, and valuable contributor to their respective offices and to the dental field. This is what STI is all about.