Sheryl: From a dental hygiene perspective

Trip Start Mar 22, 2012
Trip End Apr 26, 2012

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Flag of Korea Rep.  ,
Friday, April 6, 2012

We have had the opportunity to visit a few different facilities related to
dentistry. The first visit was the Chonbuk National University Dental Hospital
located in Jeonju, Jeollabuk-do. This hospital consisted of dental students,
dental hygiene students, denturist students and professors.  A dental hygiene student gave our team a tour
of the dental hospital.

The building consisted of four floors and each department had its own
specialty such as pediatric dentistry, dental cleanings, restorations,
orthodontics, radiography, oral surgery and dental labs. I had the privilege to
observe all the areas of the hospital.

Many of the materials and equipment used in this hospital were somewhat similar
to the ones we use in the private practice. I was very impressed with the
radiography department as they had digital radiography which wasn’t a surprise
considering Korea is advanced in technology. They had radiography machines that
would not be found in private practice because they are rarely used for the
everyday patient and are costly.

There was however a few obvious differences between the dental hospital in
Jeonju and the private practice I work at.

I noticed each operatory had a cuspidor (sink next to the chair) which when
I attended dental hygiene school in Hamilton, Ontario, Canada, all the chairs had
a cuspidors as well. These are rarely found in a private practice now because
we normally use the saliva ejector for patients to expectorate instead and it
is high in bacteria (bathroom sink is known to have the most bacteria in a

The students in the hospital wore dental masks and gloves; however, not all
the students were wearing eye protection and none of the dental students or instructors
wore dental loupes (magnifers). The posture of some students working was not
ideal ergonomic position and may suffer from neck and back injury in the future.
Several of the students wore open toed shoes which was surprising because you
can easily get a sharps injury if an instrument or hand-piece if it accidently
falls or slips out of your hands. From a dental professional standpoint, it is
important to protect yourself as much as possible from potential hazards.

There were no ultrasonic scalers in the dental cleaning department. It was
all hand scalers used by the dental hygienists. There were only two or three
instruments on the cassette as well. After speaking to our tour guide, I found
out there are ultrasonic scalers found in some private practices. I was able to
ask the dental hygienist if they would give local anesthesia to patients who
suffer from periodontal disease (severe gum disease) or have sensitivity due to
root exposure. She responded that in this hospital, they do not use local anesthetic
for dental cleanings.

The sterilization of the dental instruments and materials were soaked in
solution and hand scrubbed after use. It appeared that there were no statims or
autoclaves in the departments but I may have been wrong. Visiting the
university dental hospital was a wonderful experience and I was able to share
ideas with my counterparts.

The second facility we visited was the Jesus Hospital also located in
Jeonju. The dental department was much smaller but it was more modern. I was
able to tour around the department and noticed that there were a few statims
available for use. This made me feel a lot better about the sterility of the
hospital. There were still cuspidors next to the dental chair as well as a
screen to show patients their dental radiographs. The equipment appeared to be
similar as well.

Another facility we had the opportunity to visit was the Mauem Nursing Home
which is also located in Jeonju. It provides support for people who suffer from
mental disabilities and addiction. I had the opportunity to speak with the wife
of the president of the facility and asked her about dental care for the
patients. I asked her specifically if a patient has a tooth ache, how it is
managed. She mentioned that the patient would be escorted to a dental clinic to
have the pain treated. Upon inquiring about the regular dental maintenance such
as dental check-ups and cleanings, I found out that a dentist used to come into
the home to evaluate the patients but is no longer routinely done. The facility
provides in and out privileges for patients who are reconnecting with society and
develops a program of merging these patients into independent living. This was
an exceptional facility with many active programs, some of which are discussion
groups and yoga.

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Dentistry is the division of remedies that is engaged in the research, analysis, avoidance, and treatment of illnesses, circumstances and circumstances of the mouth, maxillofacial area and the nearby and associated components and their effect on the individual body

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