Dental students pay patients to participate in board exams

Graduate students will pay selected patients $75 for a filling and $50 for a cleaning.

Heather L. Mueller

For this visit, the giveaways are more than a toothbrush and travel-sized toothpaste.

Ninety dentistry grad students and 33 dental hygiene seniors at the University dental school are looking for patients to perform on for their upcoming licensing exams in March and April.

While going to the dentist draws a cold sweat for many, the program has an incentive: get paid for getting a filling.

There are two separate exams offered, one for teeth cleaning and another for a full dental assessment.

After an initial screening at Moos Tower Dental Clinics, patients who are asked to return will get paid for further work such as fillings or cleanings.

To earn a license, dentistry students must pass a series of three board exams, one of which tests their skills on live patients to fill cavities and treat gum disease.

where to go

Dental Exam Patients

What: Get paid $75 if qualified to be a patient for the dental exam. Patients must have gum disease or need a filling.
When: Tuesdays and Thursdays through March 8.
Where: Floors 6-9, Moos Tower For more information, call (612) 625-5441

On Tuesdays and Thursdays, dental students hold screenings and do X-rays to find candidates with cavities and gum disease.

Those selected are scheduled for a procedure between March 9 and 11, and receive $75 for each procedure performed.

School of Dentistry President Kent Archibald said students are looking for an easy fix on testing day.

“It is a little bit of a stressor because it’s not a day where you want to fill a gigantic cavity,” he said. “You want it to be like the easiest cavity you ever did.”

where to go

Dental Hygiene Exam
What:Patients will be paid $50 if they qualify for a cleaning. They must attend one of the following screenings and be able to attend one of the board exams to qualify.
When: Screening for exam
9 a.m. to 12 p.m. March 2nd
4 p.m. to 6 p.m. March 6th
9 a.m. to 12 p.m. March 9th
4 p.m. to 6 p.m. March 13th
Board Exam Cleanings
7 a.m. to 12 p.m. April 14th
12 p.m. to 5 p.m. April 15th
Where: Floors 6-9, Moos Tower For more information, call (612) 625-5441

Department of dental hygiene clinic coordinator Lisa Ahmann said exam time is stressful in the school of dentistry.

“Their entire career is on the line,” she said.

Like the dentistry students, dental hygiene students are seeking about 40 candidates whose pearly whites have lost their luster and are in need of a thorough cleaning.

During March, dental hygiene students will screen candidates for tartar buildup on their teeth or below the gum line.

Even if people brush and floss regularly they might have buildup under their gums, Ahmann said

“If we can feel the deposit, it would be enough for the exam,” she said.

Those selected for the exams will be asked to return in April for the cleaning. Exam patients will receive $50.

Dental hygiene senior class president Katrina Sanders said finding a patient who’s reliable and meets the oral criteria is stressful.

“You’re not worried about getting that ‘A,’ ” she said. “You’re worried about finding that patient.”

Getting paid to get dental work done is a win-win deal for students looking for quality care close to campus.

But many students might not be aware that such an opportunity even exists.

“Not a lot of people know that that massive block that looks like a stack of LEGOS is a dental clinic,” Sanders said of Moos Tower.

And most are unaware of the discounted prices on a number of popular dental procedures.

“We do veneers; we don’t do platinum grills,” Archibald said. “They’re not usually put on by licensed dentists. They’re usually put on by the guy who does your tattoos. Veneers are though, the Hollywood makeover ones – we do those.”