Eva Sepulveda has been obsessed with teeth since she was a teenager. She recalls having a habit of always looking at people’s teeth, which she feels stemmed from her own desire to have straight teeth.
Sepulveda made her obsession a profession. She is instructor and clinic coordinator of the Dental Hygiene Program at Del Mar College. Her dental career began right out of high school in 1990 in the United States Army.
She was first trained as a dental specialist (dental assistant) and later as a preventive dentistry specialist X-2 (dental hygienist with expanded duties). Not only did she receive valuable dental experience in the Army, but she also had her teeth straightened. After she completed her five-year Army commitment, she attended and graduated the Dental Hygiene Program at Del Mar College.
Eva Sepulveda (right), dental hygiene instructor, discusses what freshman Nichole Rexroth needs to work on for the next patient.
“The more knowledge and experience I obtained,” Sepulveda said, “the more I wanted to educate and help people improve or maintain their oral health.” She strongly feels dental hygiene is an important part of overall health.
Del Mar’s two-year Dental Hygiene Program accepts 24 students who possess a similar passion for the importance of oral health.
It is the only dental hygiene program in Corpus Christi serving the dental hygiene needs of the community. In the fall and spring semesters of 2014-15, approximately 1,200 patients received dental hygiene services in an estimate of $641,126.80.
Infographic created by Meagan Falcon
Clinics are offered by the Dental Hygiene Program located at the West Campus. The scheduled clinics offer a variety of dental services at a nominal charge.
The program, through its associates, has been able to meet the needs of the community by providing oral health presentations, dental hygiene services, oral cancer screenings, and toothbrushes and toothpastes.
The Dental Hygiene Program has been associated with the Texas Head Start Program, the Corpus Christi Independent School District and surrounding school districts, the Rotary Club of West Corpus Christi, the Texas Academy of General Dentistry and the Texas A&M Diabetes Center.
The program ties to the high demand/high wage occupations. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, employment of dental hygienists is expected to grow 33 percent through 2022 nationwide, which is much faster than the average for all occupations.