Smiling Through COVID: Our New Face of Dentistry

It’s surreal, but I can finally say we made it to the clinic! It was a unique transition into live patient
treatment since 2020 has been a little crazy for all of us, but I’m so ready to be back and working
with patients as an official dental provider.

Dentist smiling and waving in protetive equipment

COVID kept us out of school and solely on
Zoom from March to June. Between being
‘Zoom bombed’, dogs barking during
lectures and WiFi outages, we learned to
adapt. We’re one of the first dental schools
to be up and running, and things are looking
quite different…but safety first!

You’ll have trouble recognizing your UF
dental students now. We look like little
surgeons with all this PPE! Our operatories
are also enclosed and our classes have been
split in half— morning shift (Orange team)
and afternoon (blue team).

Quarantine has felt isolating to say the least, but I have
some great friends that still find a way to make one another
feel special!

Melissa Laite's birthday desk decoration


Dentist holding tooth in dental pliers

So far the clinic has been a little slow for me. We are paired with senior associates that need to reach
their graduation requirements (after being set behind three
months), so I’ve been doing more assisting than procedures as a
primary provider. However, I’ve accomplished my first SRP, first
filling, and even pulling my first tooth! Which let me say… is nothing
how I pictured it. In fact, there is very little PULLING involved. You
have to muscle up against that tooth and PUSH, creating slow
upward and side-to-side pressure. The ‘pulling’ teeth part might be a
little of a misnomer, but as the old saying suggests… it is hard! Some
smaller teeth might come out like a piece of cake, but trying to get
out a giant molar when you’re just over 5’ tall can get you sweating
through your scrubs. We joke that we don’t need to go to the gym
on days we have extractions because it’s that good of a workout. Besides getting to show off my
serious biceps, the ability to get a patient out of pain is probably why oral surgery feels so instantly


It’s easy to feel immortal when you’re young. It’s easy to take moments, days, opportunities and
people for granted. What’s not easy is being reminded that life is short and precious. It’s not easy to
lose someone special. This August, our UF family lost a member from its senior Class of 2021 —
David Guirguis. I didn’t know David much beyond his positive spirit and contagious smile in the
hallways but I could tell he had the drive to accomplish big things, and I know he was a great guy who
was loved deeply by many. He is survived by his parents, sister and fiancé; his shining presence will
be missed by all. No words can make a loss better, and I know this year has brought loss to many,
but I hope from the tragedy we can reconnect to what’s important: living life fully, loving others, and
focusing on what brings us joy.

David M. Guirguis

o read more about David, visit:

Lots of love from UFCD,

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“We believe that every Patient can achieve optimal dental health
and be proud of their smile!”

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Phone: 321-723-2620

Fax: 321- 722-1610

Address: 2186 Harris Avenue NE, Suite 3
Palm Bay, FL 32905

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