A Pandemic Can’t Stop Touro Dental Health from Helping Those in Need
Students at TCDM share how the dental practice remains up and running serving the community despite the difficulties caused by the pandemic
By Betzalel Krasnow and Peretz Rapoport, D3 Dental Students at TCDM
Touro College of Dental Medicine (TCDM) was one of the first dental school clinics in the country to re-open its doors during the pandemic and have students provide treatment. Being that TCDM is a relatively new school, it is prepared to adapt to new circumstances and is constantly re-evaluating developing situations and respond appropriately.
As third year students, we started our clinical experience during the pandemic, so the extra personal protective equipment (PPE) and universal precautions are something that have become second nature to us, not something we had to acclimate to. People are often amazed that we can work with not just one, but two masks, as well as loupes and a face shield. We have learned to adjust our PPE so that it fits just right and does not get all fogged up. Thankfully Dr. Edward Farkas and other Touro dental leadership have gone above and beyond to ensure that we have PPE which is not only safe but also comfortable to wear for many hours. Aside from the physical difficulties of wearing many layers of PPE, once you are in PPE, you cannot leave your operatory. Our student colleagues have been helpful to each other, running back and forth to retrieve items from the lab, obtain faculty when needed, and even help keep the operatory clean. The sense of responsibility students feel makes Touro special and we are fortunate to be able to provide safe treatment to many patients each day
Last June we started out in clinic at only 16.5% capacity and have since moved to 83%. We have made up the lost time by increasing our hours. Our fellow classmates have really stepped up to the plate and are working long and full days to ensure that they can graduate as competent dentists.
Starting out as a dental student providing treatment in a clinical setting is a challenge in itself and doing so during a pandemic continues to be a real learning experience. The real secret to our success is our devoted faculty. The clinical practice leaders (CPL’s), Assistant CPL’s, and supporting faculty members have gone beyond their call of duty to ensure that each and every one of us is getting the clinical experience we need. Drs. Garcia, Uddaraju, Shaffer, and Gurpegui just to name a few, do everything in their power to ensure that we acquire the skills we need to succeed. They are constantly providing guidance as well as offering advice and going the extra mile to ensure we are the best version of ourselves.