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Penn College offering low-cost dental hygiene work to the public

Dental hygiene students at Penn College are back in the classroom.

WILLIAMSPORT, Pa. — The dental hygiene program at Penn College is back up and running for the fall semester.

The COVID-19 pandemic interrupted hands-on instruction back in March for nearly 40 dental hygiene students.

"Well when COVID hit we were just getting into the swing of things like working in the clinic and learning how the clinic works and everything," said dental hygiene student Lauren Groody.

"When I came back in the first few days, it was very hard to get back into instrumentation. I forgot how to even work some of the instruments, it was hard," said dental hygiene student Erin Gohn.

Penn College offers low-cost dental hygiene care to the public in exchange for hands-on experience for students.

When the school shut down because of the pandemic, the college had to cancel hundreds of appointments. 

"On an annual basis we treat anywhere from 1,500 to 2,000 individual patients which equates to around 3,000 to 3,500 actual appointments because some patients need to return for more than one visit," said program director Shawn Kiser.

Students in Penn College's dental hygiene program tell Newswatch 16 that they had to come to campus two weeks before the semester to learn new safety procedures.

"Now make sure that our patients are masked up completely until we are ready to begin treatment. We ask them a simple questionnaire. Have they traveled out of state, if they show any signs or symptoms, and they also get their temperature taken before they come into clinic," said Gohn.

"Masking, protective eye-ware, face shields, and we also minimalized the procedures that produce aerosols," said Kiser.

The program is currently accepting appointments for the fall semester.

If you are in need of dental hygiene work you can contact the department at Penn College.