Despite the challenges of COVID-19, the University of Utah School of Dentistry remains deeply committed to providing comprehensive oral health care to underserved communities across the state of Utah.
To continue providing care for patients from a range of populations in need, the School implemented a series of safety protocols. These include COVID-19 testing of all patients 24-72 hours before a scheduled appointment and for all dental care providers and support staff every two weeks. The School's patients include many with limited abilities, impaired vision, people in substance abuse recovery, at-risk older adults, and members of Utah's refugee communities.
The School enabled a safe environment for providing dental care despite practicing a profession that many consider high-risk for spreading COVID-19. Building on strict adherence to CDC guidelines for personal protective equipment and continued temperature screenings, the School added mandatory testing of all patients and providers, regardless of symptoms. This asymptomatic testing is particularly important for the School's patients because many are considered to be among groups at high-risk for COVID-19. Thanks to this testing and an unwavering focus on safety, the School of Dentistry leads the nation for dental schools providing clinical care during this time.
"We are thankful to be in the state of Utah, which continues to be well ahead of the curve in balancing public health with economic recovery," said Wyatt R. Hume, DDS, PhD, Dean of the University of Utah School of Dentistry. "We are also deeply thankful to be part of University of Utah Health. University leaders have unequivocally supported us and our efforts to safely and compassionately care for our patient populations."
As part of a Tier 1 research institution, the University of Utah School of Dentistry is committed to examining patient outcomes resulting from its testing efforts. The findings will contribute to worldwide understanding of this novel coronavirus, particularly how best to provide oral care as safely as possible at this time.
About the University of Utah School of Dentistry
Nestled in Research Park on the south side of the University campus, the School of Dentistry boasts an innovative curriculum, outstanding students and residents, some of the most modern teaching facilities in the country, and world-class teaching and research faculty. Grounded in its mission to care for underserved communities across the state of Utah, the School of Dentistry compassionately cares for patients in its seven main clinics. Two of its physical sites are clinical partnerships with dental hygiene programs, one with Dixie State in St. George and the other with Weber State in Ogden. To learn more, visit dentistry.utah.edu.