Prior to being treated by a student in the Dental Hygiene Clinic, all new patients and patients who have not been seen in the clinic within three years must be screened. There is no charge for the screening appointment which takes approximately one-half hour to complete. At the screening appointment, a student will review your medical/dental history, monitor and record your vital signs and determine the complexity of your dental hygiene needs. Your teeth will not be cleaned at this appointment.
After the screening appointment, your name will be placed on a list of prospective patients. The students rely on this list when choosing patients to meet the semester’s requirements.
When students first begin the clinical component of the dental hygiene curriculum, they treat patients who do not have complicated dental hygiene conditions. As they progress through the program, their clinical skills increase and they need to treat more difficult patients. By the second year, students are treating patients with periodontal disease and other complex problems. When a student needs a patient with your classification you will be called and scheduled for treatment. Depending upon the semester and your individual needs, you may be called within a few days of the screening or you may have to wait several months. If you need to have your teeth cleaned more quickly than our students can accommodate you, we suggest that you schedule an appointment with your private dental office.
It will take anywhere from two hours to several appointments to complete your dental cleaning depending upon the complexity of your required treatment and the speed of the student clinician. If you do not have time to allow the student to complete your cleaning, please do not begin treatment. Students must meet strict quotas each semester and they do not receive credit for incomplete treatment. Your failure to return to complete treatment could put the student in jeopardy of not completing quota. This will greatly affect the student’s ability to succeed in the program.
Being accepted as a patient in our clinic does not mean that you will be seen on a regular basis. Again, students schedule patients based upon their clinical quotas. If you have conditions that do not meet the needs of the students, you will not be called. We do our best to provide ongoing care for our patients; however, this is first and foremost a teaching institution and the educational needs of the students must take priority.
When you are contacted to schedule an appointment, be sure to write down the student’s name and telephone number in case you need to contact the student regarding the appointment.
For more information on the dental clinic, refer to the FAQs in the Patient Services section or contact the Dental Department at 910.938.6270.