It’s not often one hears teenagers refer to dentistry as “cool,” but that is how a student in Dr. Kimberly Moore’s mentorship program described a root canal.
Rijo Pickering, 14, has been learning dentistry and more from Moore since his first visit with the dentist in December 2006.
“I had never been to a dentist before so I wasn’t scared,” said Pickering about his first visit. “And after I came and it didn’t hurt I wanted to learn about root canals and stuff. It’s cool.”
Moore, a former teacher who also has a degree in counselling, has been mentoring students in dentistry for the past few years to expose students to a possible career.
Exploring Career Options
“Mentorship is important be-cause youngsters need guidance,” said Moore. “They need to explore career options, they need someone to believe in them and they need someone who will be truthful to them who will take the time to spend with them.”
“Youngsters need to understand the options that are available to them,” she added
Through Moore’s mentorship program, students are able to try their hand at a number of different fields.
“I have a video and audio program but we also do hands-on work like pouring models,” said Moore. “So if the students decide they are actually going to go into dentistry, they are more familiar. But, it’s not just dentistry — we’re also looking at the fields of dental hygiene, dental assistant or dental lab work.”
Moore, who has been serving clients in the Virgin Islands since 1994, first took a young girl under her wing six years ago.
Starting as Patients
“Janel Webster started out with me when she was 12 and now she goes to the University of the Virgin Islands,” Moore said.
“She is a dental assistant now and runs the front office, but she started as a patient just like Rijo (Pickering).”
Once a patient is in the chair, Moore has a captive audience and can tell if there is an interest in the field.
“When I have them in the chair it’s easy to capture their attention, especially when the work doesn’t hurt,” said Moore. “Rijo had the mirror right up to his face and wanted to see everything I was doing. He said he wanted to know how to do a root canal, and I knew he was interested.”
The local dentist started her career as a teacher and didn’t switch professions until she had more than a decade of classroom experience under her belt.
All About Education
“It’s really all about educating people, even still,” said Moore, who graduated from dentistry school in 1988. “It never leaves me — I always want to teach. I like doing free screenings and teaching people how to take care of their smiles.”
In addition to Pickering and Webster, Moore also mentors 13-year-old Marcus Andrews, high school student Yakita Morten and three students on St. Thomas, where she also has an office.
Moore continues to enjoy mentoring students and hopes to expand the program in the future.
“In the future I see a program where we have more children involved and not just in dentistry,” said Moore. “Because of my education and counselling background I can help guide the students into any career. I’d like to help these students see their potential.”
“Through this mentoring program the students will have higher aspirations and they will realize their dreams,” the local dentist added.
Moore is at her Lumberyard Complex office Mondays and Wednesdays from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. and at her St. Thomas office Tuesdays, Thursdays, Fridays and Saturdays from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. Call 693-7557 on Love City and 714-2693 on St. Thomas to make an appointment.
The local dentist also offers house calls.
The mentoring program might expand this summer, so interested students should ask Moore for more information.