RAM Clinic gives dental students hands on experience - WRCBtv.com | Chattanooga News, Weather & Sports

RAM Clinic gives dental students hands on experience

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Volunteers from all over the country gave up hours of their time and expertise to participate in the Remote Area Medical Clinic. But while the patients were the ones getting the work done, the volunteers gained something as well.

"For me it's really a chance to test my skills outside teacher supervision," said Steve Kolenda, Dental Student. "Next year I'm not ggoinghave someone looking over my shoulder."

Kolenda is a senior at Buffalo University in New York. He's practicing to become a full-time dentist,  something his professor, Dr. Joseph Gambacorta says students can't get enough of.

"It's a good experience for them just to get extra confidence in doing procedural dentistry, working with patients with different backgrounds," said Gambacorta.

But the experience, while educational, is also eye opening as Kolenda sees the need for good dental care is so great.

"Some of the other trips I've been on to the Dominican and to Senegal, I expected that; to be in our own backyard I think we need to do a lot more here too," said Kolenda.

He says giving back to communities all over the country is the least he can do.

"People give you so much to get into dental school, you have all your shadowing you have to do, all the patients that say you can come and watch and people like this that are willing to let you work on them. Everybody is helping you through and you want to give some back, pay it forward," said Kolenda.

While he is giving out his services for free, he's getting back so much more.

"They do smile afterwards and that's the best part," said Kolenda. "You make them happy because you make them look good, a lot better. Their smile, you take them out of pain, infections in the teeth that are broken down. Those are probably the two most rewarding things in this experience."
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