By Keneisha Deas
Howard University News Service
WASHINGTON -- Angelica Hill, a senior from Columbia, S.C., needed help. Her wisdom teeth needed to be pulled, and she didn't have the money to pay for it.
"It was $400 a tooth, and I needed all four done." Hill, 21, said. "I really couldn't afford it."
The answer for her was the Howard University College of Dentistry. She had the procedure done there during her sophomore year at no cost.
"It was good," she said. "I was afraid to have my teeth pulled, but the students made me feel comfortable. The students did everything and the dentists made sure it was done correctly."
Hill is one of many Howard University students who are treated at the College of Dentistry. Monday through Friday from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. and 2 p.m. to 5 p.m., dozens of dental students provide much needed dental services at reduced costs to Howard undergraduate, graduate and professional students. The school also provides evening clinics from 5:30 p.m. to 7 p.m. on Wednesdays and Thursdays.
The college offers a wide variety of dental services that include orthodontic care—such as braces and other methods to align the teeth, dental care for children, deep cleanings below the gums, dental surgery, and other services.
Michelle Aguilos, a graduating senior, is a student and president of the college's Student Council at the College of Dentistry.
She encourages members of the Howard community to use the service because the dental students, supervised closely by their dentist instructors, provide excellent service at a low cost. Students are entirely covered by the Summit Insurance Plan.
"The plan covers fillings and deep cleaning; basic dental work except for lab work," said Aguilos, who currently has three Howard undergraduate students as patients.
Laporcia Wagner, a graduating senior, is using the College of Dentistry's dental services. She's had dental work done from the college since last semester. So far she's gotten a check-up, and is now getting her treatment plan.
According to Wagner, registering to become a patient is easy.
"It's very simple," she said. "You just bring your I.D., and you choose the days from Monday through Friday the days you are available."
The college also provides dental care to Washington-area residents and Howard University staff.
Cynthia Livingston has been getting her teeth fixed at the college since she was 9 years old. Livingston won't give her current age, but it's a safe guess that was more than a few decades ago.
Over the years she's had a lot of work done, from tooth extractions to crowns.
"I've had fillings and root canals, almost anything you can think of having done at a dental office," said Livingston, director of Community Services at Howard University Hospital.
"They've done excellent work, and I've never been dissatisfied.
"It's also cheaper than going out to a public dentist," she said with a wink.
Leo E. Rouse, dean of the college believes that students' work on patients from the Howard community is an important part of their education.
"Our goal is preparing graduates to give back," Rouse said. "It's not just about drilling and filling, it's all about service."