Open Wide: Student Practiced Dental Care on the UAA Campus

A Dental Assistance student practices a live operation with a Dentist and Hygienist. Photo Courtesy University of Alaska Anchorage

When it comes to activities on campus, UAA students often have things in mind such as sports and art galleries. But what about, after setting up an appointment online, walking into suite 131 of the Allied Health Sciences building next to Sally Monserud Hall, the heart of the UAA campus, to get your teeth cleaned? This is a reality thanks to the UAA Dental Clinic, operated by UAA Allied Health faculty, where students practicing dentistry courses get hands-on experience on actual patients.

The idea of having one’s teeth potentially operated on by a University student might be off-putting to some, but the students involved hold themselves to high standards. According to the School of Allied Health, the dental clinic isn’t only HIPAA compliant, like any private dental health service, but it also maintains the highest level of infection control procedures for patient and health worker safety. Students are also monitored by and working alongside a fully trained, licensed dentist during their work, as well as hygienists and assistants of professional backgrounds, allowing risk to be minimalized while providing insightful learning.

A benefit to scheduling an appointment with the UAA Dental Clinic is the cost. A basic dental exam, for example, would cost a student $50; and fillings and restorations range in cost between $120-$150. While this may not be “cheap”; it's a far lower cost than most clinics and a valuable option for those who might lack dental insurance. The trade-off comes from the time required due to the nature of the care, with pre-planning for an hour to three and a half hours of the day coming recommended. 

Students enjoy a well-deserved meal after their work during Children's Day in October 2021, where several students preformed dental services and also taught the kids about the dos and don'ts of oral hygiene. Photo Courtesy Shellea Trammel

As with many other programs, some of the UAA Dental Clinic’s functions have been hampered by the current global situation. The clinic’s services last between September and April of the given academic year, with dental assisting services only available through March and April; although hygiene services are involved year-round. One of its most well-known programs, Dental Days, where services are opened up to members of the Anchorage community, was canceled in 2021; with a date for 2022 yet to be announced. Another event, Children’s Day,  which provides care for children between the ages of 3 to 17, is also to be announced. 

If you would like to schedule your own appointment and check on availability, go to the School of Allied Health’s page on and click on the section for the Dental Clinic. There, you can view the pricing on services and have access to forms you will need to fill out to set up the appointment, which can be sent to You may direct inquiries to this address or call them at (907) 786-6960.