New dental hygiene facility has bright future

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Staff Writer

The former location of IU South Bend’s dental hygiene clinic was crowded, aging and not meant to be a permanent dental clinic. Still, the program had been operating in Riverside Hall along Northside Boulevard since 1969, where it was intended to stay only on a temporary basis.

The old Riverside Hall dental hygiene facility also included a few labor studies offices at the end of a hallway. As the program grew, the temporary structure became crowded and uncomfortable for students and patients alike. Students were using microwave carts to hold their supplies and the walls were not even permanent, nor did they touch the ceiling.

In the fall, the program finally moved into the new Education and Arts Building, which also houses the school of education and the school of the arts.

First year dental hygiene student Allison Hunt did not have to study in the old Riverside building but has been in the clinic before.

“There is a big difference from the old building,” she said. “The walls in there you can actually move them around and it was only meant to be there for a few semesters.”

Dental Education Program Director Kristyn Quimby liked the fact that, in Riverside, they had most of the building reserved for the dental students and faculty, but she was ready for the move.

“The good thing with that is we’re more visible on campus,” she said. “, I mean all of that. Riverside was just kind of secluded.”

Upon entering the IUSB dental clinic waiting area there is a corner with children’s books and a colorful table fit with tiny chairs. The clinic is immaculate with private operatory stations equipped with the latest technology and tools.

“Everything is brand new,” Quimby said. “Chairs, cabinetry, sterilization, x-ray heads, absolutely everything.”

In order to pay for the move and all the necessary equipment, fundraising was inevitable. Although the state of Indiana did appropriate some funds for the new clinic, the funds did not cover chairs or dental equipment.

“The way it was explained to me, and it kind of makes sense, if you were to take the building and flip it upside down and shake it anything that would fall out was not covered under the state appropriated funds,” said Quimby. “So anything that would fall out would have to be fundraised and that includes all of the dental equipment.”

One dental chair can cost as much as $15,000 and the clinic has more than 20 chairs including eight used for radiology.

Members of the dental community as well as various other donors helped raise the necessary funds to complete the clinic. The biggest donor, according to Quimby, was Dr. Roger Pecina.

“He donated $300,000 which gave us the ability to the clinic the way that we needed to,” she said.

There are now more units for the dental students as well as more time to treat patients and concentrate on their clinical studies. The paper charts once used in Riverside are now all digital.

For more information about the dental hygiene clinic and program, visit

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