Dental Hygiene Clinic Provides Care

Dental Hygiene Student Image

TMCC's Dental Hygiene Clinic on the Dandini Campus is open on Mondays, Tuesday afternoons and Wednesday mornings during Fall Semester. Additional hours are provided in Spring Semester.

The TMCC Dental Hygiene Clinic is accepting new patients to receive quality care at an affordable cost. The Clinic provides preventive care such as cleanings, sealants, fluoride, X-rays and evaluations.

“Everyone in the Reno and Sparks community, including TMCC staff, is eligible to participate in the Clinic – all ages,” said Lori McDonald, Director of Dental Hygiene. “TMCC and UNR students also receive a 50% discount, and veterans receive a flat rate of $35 for total services provided.”

TMCC’s Clinic is located in the Red Mountain Building, room 415, and the phone number for scheduling appointments is 775-673-8247. Appointments are needed to be treated in the Clinic.

More than 5,500 people have received care since the program began in 1999 and the Clinic opened in 2000, she said. As they provide services for the community, dental hygiene students also have an opportunity to perform and complete treatment procedures. Students are the health care providers while observed, monitored and evaluated by licensed dental hygienists (TMCC faculty) and a supervising dentist.

Patients need to be able to remain for the entire 3-1/2 to 4-hour Clinic session to give students an optimal learning experience.

Dental Hygiene Clinic hours in Fall Semester:

  • Mondays from 8 a.m.-noon and 1-5 p.m.
  • Tuesdays from 1-5 p.m.
  • Wednesdays from 8 a.m.-noon

Dental Hygiene Clinic hours in Spring Semester:

  • Mondays from 8 a.m.-noon and 1-5 p.m.
  • Tuesdays from 8 a.m.-noon and 1-5 p.m.
  • Wednesdays from 8 a.m.-noon
  • Thursdays from 1-5 p.m.

Clinics are held during the regular academic year. In Fall, clinics are held between September and November and in Spring, the sessions run from February through April. Since students are off-campus during breaks, no services are provided at that time. Students are required to schedule and confirm their own patients.

Services Provided

All patients receive an assessment evaluation examination. The exam is an oral assessment consisting of a review of documentation, evaluation and recording of the patient’s medical and dental history. The dental hygiene students will assess hard and soft tissues outside and inside of the oral cavity and check for oral cancer. They will also evaluate the teeth for possible dental cavities, missing or un-erupted teeth, fillings and crowns, existing partials and dentures, bite and wear pattern, and the condition of gum and bone supporting the teeth.

The evaluation exam determines whether a standard cleaning or a deep cleaning, scaling and root planing, is required. Depending on when the patient last had dental X-rays, they may need periodic bitewings, full mouth or a panoramic X-ray. X-rays are required for the students to perform a cleaning, but patients may bring with them the X-rays taken by their regular dentist.

Dental hygiene students also place sealants for young children during cleaning appointments. The Clinic charges per treatment, not by the visit. It may take more than one visit to finish a cleaning appointment.

The Clinic does not extract teeth, fill teeth, or make crowns and dentures.

TMCC’s Dental Hygiene Clinic collects payment at the time of service and does not bill insurance. The Clinic accepts checks and cash, and will soon be accepting debit and credit cards, McDonald said.

Costs are Low

Fees range from $25 to $130 for procedures. Patients are asked to pay $25 for the assessment evaluation exam. The assessment fee includes a regular cleaning. If a patient needs a more extensive cleaning or X-rays, an additional fee is charged:

  • Deep cleanings (if needed): $25 per quadrant
  • X-rays, periodic bitewings: $15 for 4-8 films
  • X-rays, full set: $25 for 14-17 films
  • Panographic X-ray: $25

Patient Reviews

“Our patients want to keep coming back again and again,” she said. “The students have learned that building a rapport and trust with their patients is the base to a successful appointment, and the patients find their time spent in the Clinic is well worth it.”

She added that many patients want to continue to come back for their cleanings every three to six months, but the Clinic has a policy to schedule yearly appointments in order to give students an opportunity to treat new patients with a variety of dental needs.

"We recommend the patients see their regular dentist in between their dental visits at the TMCC Dental Hygiene Clinic," McDonald said.

Students Inspired by Seeing Smiles

“Many clients come in with fear, and the students build trust,” McDonald said. “Communication is the big thing – being face-to-face. The dental hygiene students become very inspired by seeing the positive impact they make on their patients through education and helping their patients’ transition to optimal oral health.”

The students are motivated that they can help their patients feel better.

“Seeing a patient smile again is why we are in this profession,” McDonald said. “Please let us know if you are interested in participating as a patient – we would love to see you.”

For more information about general patient information and policies, visit the TMCC Dental Hygiene Clinic website, or to schedule an appointment through the student message line, call 775-673-8247.