news-category: Academics

Gardner-Webb Student Assists Dentist with Various Procedures During Internship

dentist intern

Chelsea Sexton, ’23, Obtains Radiography Certification, Learns Sterilization Techniques 

As a child, Chelsea Sexton, ’23, went through a couple of oral surgeries and wore braces for five years. During that time, the Gardner-Webb University student was cared for by a compassionate dentist, oral surgeon and orthodontist. “They always provided great care and a great environment for me,” affirmed Sexton, a native of Goode, Va. “Since eighth grade, I have known that I wanted to become a dentist. I want to do the same thing for children like myself.”

Sexton also enjoys science and math, so when she began her college search, Gardner-Webb’s chemistry program with a pre-dental concentration appealed to her. She came for a visit and knew GWU was the right choice. “Gardner-Webb offers a positive, Christian environment with uplifting staff, faculty, and students, as well as phenomenal academic opportunities,” she observed. “When I toured Gardner-Webb, I knew that it was going to be my home for the next four years; there was no question in my mind.”

Moreover, a close friend of Sexton’s family is Dr. Carole Roberts, a dentist who is a GWU alumna and member of the Board of Trustees. Roberts not only inspired Sexton to choose Gardner-Webb, she gave her an opportunity to participate in a summer internship. Sexton assisted Roberts in various procedures: extractions, fillings, dental appliance deliveries including crown placements, and limited and comprehensive exams. “I also obtained my radiography certification through a summer course, so I am able to take X-rays, and I sterilized instruments and patient rooms in the dental office,” Sexton noted. “In doing so, I had the opportunity to expand my dental and oral knowledge tremendously. I learned how to take impressions and pour models, so that dental appliances such a crown, retainers, or dentures could be made by a lab. I learned how to take panoramic X-rays, bitewing X-rays, and periapical (whole tooth) X-rays.”

Chelsea Sexton and Carol Roberts
Dr. Carole Roberts with Chelsea Sexton

Sexton’s hands-on experience coupled with the academic foundation provided by her GWU professors moves her toward the next step in her academic journey. “By majoring in chemistry with a pre-dental concentration, I have the opportunity to take many biology courses, as well as anatomy, and physics, so that I will be well prepared for the Dental Admissions Test (DAT),” offered Sexton, who is also minoring in mathematics. “Upon graduation, I plan to attend dental school at either UNC-Chapel Hill or The Medical College of Virginia (Richmond).”

She’s still deciding whether to be a general dentist or specialize in pediatrics. Whatever path she chooses, Sexton is grateful to her GWU professors for helping her develop the skills she needs for academic and personal success. “Gardner-Webb has the best professors, who are readily available to help inside the classroom and outside of the classroom,” she related. “Professors, like Dr. Tom Jones, are often available to just sit and talk. I really appreciate and value that. My experiences at Gardner-Webb have taught me how important it is to manage my time wisely, get plugged into the right study groups, and to go to my professors when I need extra help or encouragement.”

Chelsea Sexton using equipment
Chelsea Sexton putting on gloves

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