Developmental Dental Hygiene Mentoring Program / AHEC Rotation

Patients with intellectual and developmental disabilities (IDD) present unique challenges for dental hygienists. This clinical course provides dental hygiene students with theoretical knowledge and practical experience that will ease their transition into real-world situations.

The Developmental Dental Hygiene Mentoring Program is affiliated with the University of Louisville School of Dentistry’s Dental Hygiene program. The School requires that all Dental Hygiene students complete this program during their second year of training.

Throughout the year, Dental Hygiene students are expected to observe the delivery of services to patients with IDD, determine oral hygiene goals for patients; complete, with supervision, prophylaxis (or periodontal treatment as needed) on patients; assist with oral exams; and communicate patient needs with the patient or the patient’s direct care staff or guardian.

The Dental Hygiene class is surveyed before and after students’ clinical experience at Lee Specialty Clinic to gauge their improved comfort while treating and communicating with patients with IDD.

The dental hygiene students entering this program are baccalaureate students completing their fourth term at the University of Louisville School of Dentistry.

The program operates in conjunction with, and for the duration of the academic school year. Following completion of the Mentoring Program, a month-long AHEC (Area Health Education Center) program is made available for two dental hygiene students. During the AHEC program the dental hygiene student completes a community service project with their Developmental Dental Hygienist mentor.