Fall 2014

Special Treatment

Dental students care for Special Olympics athletes

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Photo: Andy Duback

For the past three years, volunteers from Tufts’ chapter of the American Student Dental Association (ASDA) have traveled to the Green Mountains to help care for athletes at the Vermont Special Olympics. The project is a collaboration between the ASDA and the Vermont State Dental Society, and each year it’s attracted more interest and support from the Tufts dental community.

Fourteen students—including Yogesh Gera, D16, pictured here—arrived at the University of Vermont’s Gutterson Fieldhouse in May to perform oral health screenings on 200 athletes and attendees. The Tufts students worked under the supervision of volunteer dentists, with assistance from students from the Vermont Technical College Hygiene School and the Essex Tech School of Dental Assisting.

“Each screening was followed up with calls to local dentists to report urgent-care findings and to help connect athletes to providers in their areas,” says Neil Patel, D15. “We were able to identify a large number of pressing oral care issues.” Vermont Special Olympics sponsors athletic events for children and adults with intellectual disabilities. At the Summer Games, more than 400 athletes competed in four sports: aquatics, bocce, softball and track and field.

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