Creating Positive Vibes at the Dentist

As a child, our experiences at the dentist help determine how we view oral health for the rest of our lives.

For parents that have children with special needs, the task of creating positive memories at the dentist is even more daunting.

At Concorde, we also realize that working with families of children with autism to patients who suffer post-traumatic stress disorder is a skill our future dental assistants and dental hygienists can benefit from as they move into their respective careers. And thus, a partnership was born.

Concorde recently partnered with the Pacific Dental Services Foundation and the Autism Speaks Autism Treatment Network, as well as the Autism Intervention Research Network on Physical Health.

“Pacific Dental has been a long-time partner of Concorde’s with a rich history of serving as externship sites and offering graduates full-time opportunities,” said Nancy Jones, Senior Director of Student Affairs, “Through their foundation, they had an existing relationship with Autism Treatment Network Autism Speaks that allowed us to come along side and join forces with these two incredible organizations.”

“When great minds get in a room, the brainstorming sessions that result are electric!” she said, “we looked at unique ways to expose our students and faculty to opportunities outside our normal curriculum while enriching the lives of the under-served population of families of children with autism.”

Two-phase approach

Just like in our dental training programs, education comes before practical application. During a Saturday in June, students and faculty met to focus on learning the physical and mental challenges faced by special needs patients when it comes to oral healthcare.

The course provided a comprehensive look at Autism Spectrum Disorders and what every dental assistant and hygienist can do to better serve their patients and families including learning ways to create a problem-free setting to provide a positive experience at the dental office.

This past weekend, students and faculty at our Concorde – Garden Grove, Cal. welcomed families into our clinics and provided oral exams, education and in-home care tips to parents.




“In my opinion, the event was a great success,” said Gaby Hurtado, Project Manager for the Autism Speaks Autism Treatment Network, “Every family had a story to tell about what they go through just to get dental care for their child and these stories were all filled with negative experiences and memories … Every family left with such satisfaction and most on the brink of shedding tears for such a wonderful experience.”

What’s next for these students?

What started as a unique partnership between three organizations with a desire to serve others well, looks as though it will become an annual event.

Enjoy an inside look at an important day of service. If quality care and good memories are key to unlocking a life-long commitment to oral health, we’d say these kiddos are well on their way!

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Trenisha Jones | Dental Assistant Graduate

“I decided to go to school because I was tired of working dead-end jobs. … When I found out I was pregnant, I realized that I needed a better life for me, for my child, for my husband, and just to better myself.”

Andrea Nolan | Dental Assistant graduate

“Knowing I could be working as a Dental Assistant in eight months was crazy to me! I loved going to class and would drive an hour there every day. I’m truly happy that I took the step to go to Concorde. It was the best thing I have done for my family.”