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East Tennessee State University improving education for dental hygienists who work with children with sensory processing disorde

East Tennessee State University improving education for dental hygienists who work with children with sensory processing disorders

PR Newswire

JOHNSON CITY, Tenn., Feb. 25, 2020 /PRNewswire/ -- What began as a regional continuing education (CE) event at East Tennessee State University to help dental professionals deliver better care to children who have sensory processing disorders is now reaching a national audience.

East Tennessee State University logo

This month, which is National Children's Dental Health Month, a self-study CE course co-written by ETSU professors Dr. Dobbie Dotson and Dr. Michelle Johnson, and Milligan College professor Dr. Christy Isbell, was published in two national peer-reviewed continuing education journals.

The course, which appeared in Dimensions of Dental Hygiene and Decisions in Dentistry, is titled "Caring for children with sensory processing disorders." It offers education and techniques that can help prepare these patients for successful dental visits, and that can support optimal care while in the clinic.

"This information that we shared last year at a CE event for our region has been expanded to a national platform where dentists and dental hygienists across the country can benefit from this material," said Dotson, associate professor in ETSU's Dental Hygiene program. "We're pleased that we're hopefully making a difference in the education of dental professionals."

Information provided in the CE course includes tips for preparing children with sensory processing disorders for the dental visit, adapting the environment for their needs, and effective techniques for approaching and treating them.

Sensory processing disorder is a neurological disorder in which the sensory information that the individual perceives results in abnormal responses, according to the STAR Institute for Sensory Processing Disorder.

This disorder can make visits to the dental office very stressful for children, their parents and dental health providers, as the bright lights, lying back in the chair, dental instruments, loud sounds, and the smells and tastes of a dental office often can be overwhelming and create a negative experience for the child, according to Dotson.

Dotson's colleague, Dr. Michelle Johnson in ETSU's Department of Rehabilitative Health Sciences, experienced this issue firsthand.

"Through my own personal experience with my child who has sensory issues and through my discussions with dental professionals, I realized that while dentists received some training, dental hygienists didn't have access to the same training," Johnson said. "The dental hygienist spends the greater part of the visit with the child, so we thought it was really important to focus on this group."

Johnson and Dotson teamed up to study this issue and were awarded a Clinical Enhancement Grant from the ETSU College of Clinical and Rehabilitative Health Sciences dean's office. This grant allowed them to survey dental hygienists across the state and put together a CE event at ETSU in May 2019.

More than 100 dental hygienists from East Tennessee and Virginia attended the CE event, which was filled to capacity and featured guest speakers Isbell, department chair and program director of the Master of Science in Occupational Therapy program at Milligan, and Dr. Robert Tolliver, clinical psychologist and assistant professor in the Department of Pediatrics at ETSU's Quillen College of Medicine.

An interprofessional team of ETSU and Milligan students representing the Vanderbilt Consortium LEND (Leadership Education in Neurodevelopment Disabilities) created a toolkit of visual materials to assist the dental professionals, parents and children with sensory processing disorders. Attendees received the packet, and the materials also are available electronically.

Last year, the Tennessee Dental Hygienists Association requested recordings of the CE sessions and materials to offer to its members on its website. In addition, the ETSU Dental Hygiene program makes the information available to its students.

"We want our students and all dental professionals to be well-trained and prepared," Dotson said.

ETSU's Dental Hygiene program is part of the Department of Allied Health Sciences in the College of Clinical and Rehabilitative Health Sciences. In 2019, the program celebrated its 50th anniversary of educating students and serving the community at its Dental Hygiene Clinic. To date, more than 1,500 students have graduated from the program.

To learn more about the Dental Hygiene program, visit www.etsu.edu/crhs/allied-health/dhyg.

East Tennessee State University was founded in 1911 with a singular purpose to improve the quality of life for the people of the region. Today, the university offers more than 150 programs at the undergraduate and graduate levels and has more than 98,000 living graduates. The footprints of our students, alumni, faculty and staff can be seen across the region and around the world.

A photo available for download here.

Contact: Melissa Nipper, nipperm@etsu.edu

Cision View original content to download multimedia:http://www.prnewswire.com/news-releases/east-tennessee-state-university-improving-education-for-dental-hygienists-who-work-with-children-with-sensory-processing-disorders-301011022.html

SOURCE East Tennessee State University

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