COVID-19 changes at the dentist office

PERRYSBURG, Ohio (WTVG) -Dental offices across the country are back in business amid COVID-19, with all new protocols in place.



a group of people in a room: Dental offices across the country are back in business amid COVID-19, with all new protocols in place.


© Provided by Toledo WTVG
Dental offices across the country are back in business amid COVID-19, with all new protocols in place.

“I think patients can feel very comfortable going back to dentist offices and I very much encourage them to do so,” said Owens Community College Dental Hygiene Instructor Sue Nichols.

Inside Owens Health Technologies Hall dental students are back on campus hard at work, honing their craft with hands-on clinicals. Dental Hygiene students can be found working inside the mouths of their peers, learning how to properly provide teeth cleaning services and proper oral care. This semester looks a bit different amid COVID-19 for the class of 25 students within the program.

“The first thing we really implemented was that all of the students have to wear face shields, so on time of masks they wear a face shield to protect them against aerosols, generating from them being over a patient’s open mouth,” said Sue Nichols.



a group of people standing in a kitchen: Owens students dawn facial masks, face shields, gloves, and plastic gowns.


© Provided by Toledo WTVG
Owens students dawn facial masks, face shields, gloves, and plastic gowns.

In a recent Centers for Disease Control and Prevention Study, the job of dental hygienist ranked as the most “At-risk” profession for contracting COVID-19. The study found the risk stems from hygienists’ close exposure to virus particles living inside the mouths of patients.’

“I do feel safe, and I feel very safe for our students, I think we’ve put everything in place that you would want to protect yourself from anything that’s aerosolized,” said Sue Nichols.

At Owens, like dentist offices across the country, the school is limiting procedures that promote the spread of air-born germs. Students now are required to wear added hair bonnets, face shields, and gloves. Dental stations and equipment are also required to undergo thorough cleanings after every use.

“I know that the instructors have put systems in place to make us succeed and not only keep us safe but keep the patients safe as well,” said Olivia Wesley.

Olivia Wesley is a first-year student in Owens Dental Hygienist program. Wesley is only 5 weeks into the program.



a woman wearing a costume: Owens students thoroughly wash their hands before and after operating inside their on campus dental hygiene clinic.


© Provided by Toledo WTVG
Owens students thoroughly wash their hands before and after operating inside their on campus dental hygiene clinic.

“Through it all we are being set up for success and I know that we are going to be ready to work and be confident in the environment that we are working in,” said Wesley.

The dental program offers oral hygiene services to the public at discounted rates inside their on-campus clinic. You can schedule an appointment on their website.

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