NORFOLK, Va. — Protective gowns, N95 masks, gloves, face shields and shoe covers are the new uniform at the Dental Hygiene Care Facility at Old Dominion University.
“To go through a dental hygiene program is intense, but to do it in a pandemic is a little bit wild,” said Michelle Crepeau.
The added PPE is just one step that was taken in August to get students back in clinics so they can work on patients.
“We need this experience. We need our patients to come in,” said Nayav Mahmood.
Mahmood graduates in four months. Time is running out for her and other seniors to perfect the skills they need for their professional career.
“If we don’t work right now, I don’t know where I see myself next year,” she said.
Student clinicians provide low-cost dental care, such as cleanings and x-rays, for people without insurance. Most services cost less than $50.
Right now, they need more patients and are encouraging kids and adults to not set their oral health aside during the pandemic.
“We have had patients — you know, it’s been a while since they’ve come — but coming in, they feel much better after they leave, getting the therapeutic and preventative services that they need."
“We trained our students on all of the changes for COVID-19 policies and procedures, our new equipment, everything that we put into place for our safety mitigation strategy,” said School of Dental Hygiene Chair Ann Bruhn.
The school added air purifiers in the rooms and is pre-screening patients for COVID-19 symptoms before their appointment.
The new changes are giving students the confidence they can protect themselves and their patients while getting the practice they need to succeed.
“I feel like I’m prepared to take on anything we’ve had to adapt constantly. I think it’s going to make us all stronger,” said Crepeau.
The best way to schedule an appointment is to call 757-683-4308 and leave a message if necessary.
A list of available services and fees can be found on the Dental Hygiene Care Facility website.