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Field trip makes dental health fun
Dawn Myers shows second grade classes from Julien Elementary School a fruit and vegetable chart during their fieldtrip to First Step Dental on Friday. - photo by CANDY PADILLA / The Journal

Although a field trip to the dentist might seem like a less than desirable idea to most, those who were at First Step Dental on Friday would quickly disagree.

Whether by car, bus or foot, approximately 500 students and teachers from Turlock and surrounding areas converged at First Step Dental for an equally educational and entertaining session focused on dental care.

“A lot of people think the dentist is a scary place, especially at a young age,” said office manager Debbie Silveira. “We want to show them it is fun and encourage them to come back—whether it is to First Step Dental or to their own dentist.”

Since 2000, the First Step Dental has hosted the annual event to promote the benefits of good oral health in celebration of National Children’s Dental Health Month.

During their trip, students heard the story “Dudley Visits the Dentist,” played Tic-Tac Tooth,  visited a nutrition station to learn more about healthy snacks, brushed and flossed the teeth of a dinosaur puppet, and got some hands-on experience with many dental instruments.

Kindergartener Noah Suarez easily defined his favorite part of the entire trip as the session which gave each student the opportunity to find out firsthand the power of the dentistry’s water and air syringe.

“It was fun when the big suction cup suctioned my hand,” said Suarez. “It was so strong!”

For the first time, students were given the opportunity to have their own mouths examined in a visual screening performed by First Step Dental’s own Dr. Brian Kelleher. To participate, students had to have a signed waiver in hand.

Turlock Christian School kindergarten teacher Colleen Blomenkamp has brought her class to First Step Dental’s office experience for the past four years.

Blomenkamp notes that her kindergarteners are currently working on a dental health unit, so she feels that this field trip is the perfect outlet to provide hands-on experience that supplements what they are learning in the classroom.

“Going to the dentist can be intimidating, but this shows them that they shouldn’t be scared because this is a fun, safe environment,” said Blomenkamp. “I hope they will be more conscientious when it comes to taking care of their teeth and they do the things they are supposed to do.” 

At the conclusion of their trip, each student was given a goodie bag filled with additional information on what they learned that day and, of course, their very own toothbrush and toothpaste.