Vanessa Serrata (right), a TSTC Dental Hygiene student, practices cleaning teeth on her brother, Victor Serrata, as part of the hands-on training curriculum at TSTC’s Harlingen location.

(HARLINGEN, Texas) – To commemorate Dental Hygienist Appreciation Week during the second week of April, Texas State Technical College’s Dental Hygiene program will host its second annual dental hygienist networking event in collaboration with dental supply companies Dentsply Sirona and Patterson Dental from 5:30 to 7:30 p.m. on Wednesday, April 10, at SMOKE: Texas BBQ & Watering Hole in Harlingen.

TSTC Dental Hygiene students will network with representatives from more than 10 dental offices and related businesses to discuss their skills and qualifications for employment.

Raquel Rico, TSTC’s Dental Hygiene program team lead, said students can gain experience in the program’s dental clinic by treating patients from the community.

“Students’ didactic courses prepare them for the Texas workforce,” Rico said. “(They) are trained in medical emergencies, and they’re ready to treat adult patients, children, geriatric patients, and patients with disabilities.”

Glen Watts, territory sales representative for Patterson Dental, said the company has a close relationship with dental hygiene programs across Texas.

“We do our best to connect graduating hygienists with employment opportunities,” he said. “Students should bring a resume, cover letter, and be ready to talk with dentists. It will be a great opportunity to learn what local dentists desire in a quality hygienist for a practice in the current workforce market.”

During the event, representatives from area dental offices can learn more about how TSTC students are preparing for the challenges of the Texas workforce by using the latest technologies.

Dental Hygienist Appreciation Week is celebrated annually to advocate for good oral health habits.

Registration for TSTC’s summer and fall semesters is underway. For more information, visit

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