STCC Dental-hygiene Clinic Makes Adjustments During COVID-19

SPRINGFIELD — The dental-hygiene clinic at Springfield Technical Community College (STCC) continues to offer affordable cleanings and examinations, but has made adjustments to ensure safety during the COVID-19 pandemic.

The clinic on the campus of STCC is open to patients this fall on Monday, Tuesday, Thursday, and Friday from 8:30 to 11:30 a.m. and 1 to 4 p.m.

STCC will offer four more clinics than usual during the fall semester to allow for social distancing, said Meg Loadholt, an associate professor of Dental Hygiene. The college also reduced the maximum number of people allowed in the clinics.

Dental-hygiene students, under the direction of licensed dental hygienists and dentists, provide all the treatment as part of their training.

Patients who enter the main lobby of Building 20, where the program is housed, must stop at a checkpoint to get their temperature taken and complete documents providing details about their visit to campus, among other protocols. If screeners determine there is no risk in allowing them into the building, patients can proceed to the clinic using the main stairway. Patients can use the elevator, but only one person at a time will be allowed.

“To prevent the transmission of COVID-19 and any other pathogenic organisms, the dental-hygiene clinic will continue its high degree of sterilization and disinfection practices,” Loadholt said. “Specific to COVID-19, faculty, staff, and students will wear level-3 surgical masks with face shields.”

Some procedures that pose a risk of spreading the novel coronavirus have been suspended. For example, students will not use ultrasonic scalers, which emit a fine mist, or aerosol. In addition, students will not polish patients’ teeth because the process creates a great deal of splatter.

The dental-hygiene clinic is accepting new and returning patients.

“Many of our patients had their treatment interrupted and left incomplete during the month of March when the campus closed,” Loadholt said. “For those individuals, our front-desk staff is attempting to contact them to determine if they’d like to schedule an appointment to continue their treatment. Since they have already paid the fee, they will not be required to pay again.”

To make an appointment, call (413) 755-4900. For more information about rates and services offiered, visit stcc.edu/info/dental-care.

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