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NIC Dental Hygiene students host free event for veterans

by GERRY McGCRAY / North Idaho College
| November 25, 2022 1:00 AM

Operation Veteran Smiles was a go Thursday, Nov. 10 as eight students from the North Idaho College Dental Hygiene program held a free dental care clinic for members of the military at the Dental Hygiene office in Winton Hall at NIC’s main campus in Coeur d’Alene.

Sixteen veterans attended the event and students said they were excited about the opportunity the clinic offered.

“Everyone has been super grateful,” dental hygiene student Carli Daniels said. “It’s nice to give back and help people in our community.”

Students provided preventive dental procedures, including radiographs, periodontal assessments, dental exams, oral health education, cleanings and fluoride treatments.

“It’s a win-win,” veteran and former NIC student Trevor Cardigan said. “It works for the students; it works for the program, bringing up their knowledge base; and it works for us because we don’t have coverage.”

Students spent around an hour and a half with each patient and said that clinics offered a fast-paced setting where they were able to test their skills.

“We are really learning to be on time, flip our room fast and see patients back-to-back,” Daniels said.

NIC students planned the event and distributed flyers to the community as the program draws to a close for its inaugural cohort. Those currently enrolled will graduate this semester and the next group will start in the Spring Semester. Clinical experiences are integrated throughout the program and offer students opportunities for hands-on learning.

“You can read about something however many times, but it doesn’t officially click until you’re actually doing it,” NIC student Kyndal Lindley of Spirit Lake said. “I really like being in the clinic because it’s a real-world experience.”

For more information, contact NIC Dental Hygiene Program Director Janis McClelland at 208-929-4014 and



NIC dental hygiene student Kayla Strange examines a patient as part of Operation Veteran Smiles on Thursday, Nov. 10 at Winton Hall on NIC’s main campus in Coeur d’Alene.

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