Austin Oral Surgery Trains Dental Hygienists to Recognize Warning Signs of Child Sex Trafficking Celebrates Five Years Raising Awareness, Funds for The Refuge for DMST

Austin Oral Surgery
Austin oral surgery


Austin oral surgery

Child sex trafficking is the fastest growing crime in the world, according to a study by the UT School of Social Work. To make a difference, Austin Oral Surgery trains the dental community to recognize and safely report signs of child sex trafficking and helps raise funds for The Refuge for Domestic Minor Sex Trafficking (DMST). The Refuge for DMST is a non-profit, therapeutic, residential community, and foster-placement agency for girls ages 11 through 19, who have been rescued from sex traffickers.

To date, Austin Oral Surgery has brought awareness to more than 2,300 dental professionals throughout Central Texas, and has raised nearly $28,000 for the nonprofit. Its most recent fund-raising and training events, its annual hygienist appreciation nights, officially marked the five-year anniversary of Austin Oral Surgery’s commitment to helping The Refuge for DMST eradicate child sex trafficking.

“We wanted to do something to thank and recognize hygienists and show them how important they are. So we began hosting annual hygienist appreciation nights, a fun, relaxed get-together with good food, swag bags, prizes and ongoing education. It was at one of these events five years ago, that we began to support The Refuge for DMST. Our speaker that night, Edie Gibson, brought an ergonomic saddle stool donated by Crown Seating as a raffle prize, and we donated the funds to The Refuge,” said Renee Dixon, marketing director at Austin Oral Surgery.

“We also talked about how to recognize signs of sex trafficking and what hygienists can do to help, without endangering themselves or their patients,” continued Dixon. “It’s an important issue and dental professionals are in a unique position to help, since many indicators of child sex trafficking are found in the mouth.”

Austin Oral Surgery’s annual hygienist appreciation nights were held at the Indigo Hotel in Waco on Oct. 27 and the Kalahari Resort in Austin on Oct. 28. More than 200 dental hygienists were in attendance and received training on this and other significant topics. In addition, more than $7,000 was raised to support The Refuge.

“Austin Oral Surgery has single-handedly educated the dental community on the warning signs of child sex trafficking, teaching thousands of professionals what to watch for to keep children safe. We’re truly grateful for their continued support and dedication,” said Steven “Flyer” Phenix, director of PR and communications for The Refuge for DMST.

To learn more about what Austin Oral Surgery is doing to make a difference, visit


When Doctors James Fricke and Sam Fason established Austin Oral Surgery 50 years ago, they had one goal in mind: to put patients first. Austin Oral Surgery continues that legacy of exceptional care today, treating patients with a wide variety of oral/maxillofacial needs from wisdom teeth removal and corrective jaw surgery, all the way to dental implants, and more.

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