School of Dentistry adopts scrubs-only dress code

The new student dress and hygiene regulations were put into effect this fall.

Elizabeth Cook

Starting last week, students in the School of Dentistry need to break out their scrubs and pin back their hair before coming to class.

Personal hygiene and dress regulations are part of the new student dress code and guide for personal appearance documents put into effect this fall.

Students played a large role in the decision to create rules no longer allowing jeans in class. Students must wear colored, matching scrubs with white, clean shoes and socks, said Patrick Lloyd, dean of the School of Dentistry.

“In the past, students had a choice: jeans or street clothes,” he said.

Lloyd said the dress code ensures a greater degree of infection control.

Mallory Biegert, a first-year dental student, recently transferred from Minnesota State-Mankato, where there is no dress code.

Biegert said her scrubs haven’t come in yet, so she’s had to dress in business casual attire.

“I don’t really like it right now,” she said.

Biegert said she’ll miss wearing her own clothes, but won’t miss having to look professional.

Not all students have to follow the requirements.

Colin McCarty, a second-year dental student, said he was grandfathered into the old rules and only has to wear scrubs in the clinics without any color requirement for his scrubs.

He said he’s happy about having the choice since he wouldn’t want to wear scrubs every day.

“As long as you look professional, I think you should be able to wear what you want,” he said.

The school will go through an accreditation process this semester, which factored into the dress code, said Geoff Archibald, president of the School of Dentistry Student Council.

Archibald said the dental school looked at other programs throughout the country to check on current standards in uniform.

“Throughout the nation, (a dress code) becoming an unwritten rule,” he said.

Lloyd said the rule is also cost-saving for students.

Students often spill plaster or other materials on their clothes from working in the clinic, Lloyd said. An entire scrub outfit costs an average of $40, which he said could be cheaper than replacing street clothes.

Lloyd said cost was a factor in the decision.

Some schools required business casual attire, but it was determined to be more expensive, he said.

“We’ve got to go with the scrubs,” Lloyd said. “It’s much more cheaper and it still looks very professional.”

Second-year dental student Kara Mcdermott said she likes the new dress code.

“It makes things a little simpler for getting ready,” she said.

But, Mcdermott said she is also grandfathered in, so wearing scrubs everyday is not something she worries about.

“So if I feel like not wearing scrubs, it’s OK,” she said.

Dress codes also help patients with their visits, Lloyd said.

“Patients tend to feel more comfortable when providers are professionally dressed,” he said.

As student body president, Archibald said, he normally knows when students aren’t happy with a rule.

“It’s been going pretty well,” he said. “I have not received any complaints.”