Dental Hygiene senior students seeking patients to finish graduation requirements

Left+to+right+are+seniors+Savanna+Hibbits+and+Eliza+Haynes.

Professor Stephanie Meredith

Left to right are seniors Savanna Hibbits and Eliza Haynes.

Senior students in West Liberty’s Dental Hygiene program need help from the hilltop community to meet their graduation requirements. Simply setting up an appointment for a teeth cleaning in Campbell Hall could help a senior in the program meet their responsibilities to graduate in May.

Dental Hygiene senior, Autumn Allman, explained certain requirements must be met by students within the program each semester to be considered “competent”. Clinic four is the last of the requirements senior students must achieve before they can graduate. “In Clinic four, we have to complete a total of 32 patients consisting of children under 11, adolescents 12 to 17, adults 18 and older and geriatrics 60 and older,” said Allman.

Generally, appointments include “intra/extra oral exam, oral cancer screening, full dental and periodontal charting, x-rays, polishing, flossing and fluoride,” according to Allman. Professor Stephanie Meredith, dental hygiene program director, says patients should expect their appointments to last at least three hours due to required screenings, assessments, and clinical instructor evaluations. Allman added patients can refuse any of the services and the clinic’s main goal is to keep the patients’ best interest in mind at all times.

Appointments range in price depending on the individual. For example, the cost for West Liberty students, faculty, staff, and children under 11 are $5. For adults (individuals older than 18), the appointment cost is $15. (No insurance required.) Allman offered words of encouragement saying, “you are receiving quality care for a low price. We [all] feel incredibly grateful anytime someone takes the time out of their day to show up for us.”

The dental hygiene clinic at West Liberty has been doing everything possible to ensure COVID-19 guidelines are followed to keep students, staff, and patients safe. While infection control is nothing new in the dental world, the clinic has implemented new protocols since the pandemic has started. Students must wear a KN95 mask with a level one mask overtop, a face shield, scrubs, a gown, easy to clean closed-toe shoes and protective eyewear, according to Allman.

The pandemic has also put the dental hygiene students and clinics at a disadvantage because the number of people making appointments have decreased significantly. “We work with each other to ensure [everyone] will meet their requirements and graduate on time. For example, I might not need a child credit so instead I’ll give my patient to another student who needs that patient in order to graduate. The instructors are also very fair and give everyone equal opportunity to meet requirements,” Allman shared.

If you or someone you know is interested in setting up a dental cleaning appointment to help the seniors in the program get closer to reaching their graduation requirements, you can call the dental hygiene department in Campbell Hall at 304-336-8633 or go to the clinic directly. Prior to your appointment, patients will complete a “pre-screening health and COVID questionnaire and a temperature check,” according to Meredith. Appointments are available Monday through Friday from 8:30 a.m. to 1:30 p.m. If you have a specific student you would like to request for your appointment , let clinic receptionist Kelly Baker know.

Junior dental hygiene students will also be seeking patients in March according to Meredith. Please note the following: no personal belongings are permitted in the clinic during your appointment. Items not allowed include bookbags, purses, and coats; however, they can be left in the waiting room.

For more information about the dental hygiene program and clinics, please email Professor Meredith at [email protected]. Questions regarding the information in this article should be directed to Annalise Murphy at [email protected]