Dental Hygienists Strained as COVID Eases and Patients Return

Dental hygienist Jeannette Diaz’s patients sometimes cry. Lately, she’s been crying with them.

It’s not just because so many people refrained from getting dental work during much of the COVID-19 pandemic, leaving her to scrape off more than a year’s worth of tartar and plaque. It’s not just because the labor of cleaning teeth can take a toll on hygienists’ bodies.

It’s also because the patients are unburdening themselves on her — describing the tragedies and heartaches that have bombarded them during the pandemic. Many tell her how the coronavirus took their loved ones.

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