Practicing dental hygiene in 2020 has been eye-opening, to say the least. I’ve personally experienced increased migraines, brain fog, chronic fatigue, and increased anxiety. Many of these symptoms can be linked to the respirators; however, I recently have experienced ringing in my ears after clinical days. When I started to recap the days, I realized my air purifier and high-speed suction have become my new normal on an hourly basis. The more aware I became, the more I realized that everyone around me seemed to be yelling: patients yelling through their masks, team members struggling to hear their patients through the glass dividers or face shields, and clinicians shouting to communicate with their patients over the deafening sounds of the dental office. Clinical studies demonstrate that the occupational noise of a dental office can lead to permanent hearing damage.
October is not only National Dental Hygiene Month; it is also Mental Health Awareness Month. This year has challenged all of us in many ways, and a global pandemic has the potential to have multiple negative effects on one’s emotional and physical health. The CDC reports that anxiety was three times higher than normal in June 2020, while depression was four times higher.~~1There are so many unknowns in our world, it becomes overwhelming if you do not have the right coping strategies. As the winter months approach and communities continue to further restrictions, we must understand the warning signs for depression and mental health illness—not only for patients but for ourselves and our community.
Saliva is the “liquid gold” of the mouth. It serves as the mouth’s natural cleansing agent, carrying calcium and phosphate to aid in the remineralization process of the enamel and dentin.
Sunstar releases a new dry mouth product you do not want to miss!
In this video from the 2020 Chicago Midwinter Meeting, Amber Auger, MPH, RDH, talks with Carol Jahn, MS, RDH, about the Waterpik Sonic-Fusion. The Sonic-Fusion is the world's first "flossing toothbrush," combining Waterpik's Water Flosser and Sonic Toothbrush technologies, so patients can brush and floss at the same time.
In this video from the 2020 Chicago Midwinter Meeting, Amber Auger, RDH, talks with Jason Goodchild, DMD, about the AeroPro Cordless Handpiece from Premier Dental. The AeroPro has many unique features—including no rheostat—to improve ergonomics, performance, and infection control workflows for dental hygienist
I have practiced dental hygiene for the last 10 years and have witnessed a cultural shift among many offices throughout the country. The society that we live in values technology, digital communication systems, and extended hours. In order to accommodate our patients, many offices are offering evening appointments and weekend hours, and this often results in shorter appointment times. These schedule demands can lead to burned-out clinicians who feel like we cannot provide the highest quality of care. Adapting to the increased demands that we experience can be challenging; however, when done intentionally, can allow us to own our clinical day.
Amber Auger RDH MPH interview Cranberry on their latest glove line.
When it comes to treating periodontal disease, it is important to access the patient’s entire medical history, social habits, daily home care habits, and understand what pathogens are present. Properly educating the patient on how the bacteria adheres to the tooth will increase the urgency for frequent and proper home care.
If you’re looking for a superior solution for hands-free suction, try the Pink Petal from Zirc.This beautifully simple tool is a hygienist’s secret to working faster and more effectively while keeping patients comfortable. https://www.zirc.com/products/isolation/pink-petal-50-pack
Amber Auger RDH, MPH reviews the effects of topical anesthetic GingiCaine.
It is important to provide a comprehensive evaluation of each patient that we treat. It is essential for dental hygienists to understand how to identify irregular lesions that could be pre-cancerous or cancerous. Understanding what to look for in our patients, will allow the dental clinician to assist in early diagnosis of the patient.
The failure of implants is often due to calculus or excess cement. It is essential that as Dental Hygienists, we understand how to proper remove debris that can compromise the longevity of the implant.
The implementation of a prophy jet in office can change the way we provide care to our patients.
A review of Pulpdent's Embrace Wetbond Pit & Fissure
A short video on tips for promoting pediatric home care.
Amber discusses the features and benefits of Dentsply for RDH Magazine.
The xray is positioned for a pediatric patient. Courtesy of Dentsply Sirona.
When I first graduated from hygiene school, I worked full-time in a busy pediatric office. Our “open bay” layout, which included four dental chairs in a large room, was designed to allow parents, siblings, and other children to engage in the “show-tell-do” systems that ease the inexperienced patient’s anxiety. For the pediatric patient, everything involved in the dental experience is new.
The patient’s first-time experience can be overwhelming due to the sounds alone, such as the high-pitched sound of the polishing handpiece and suction. However, with the gentle touch of a skilled dental hygienist, the patient can overcome the initial fear of the unknown. The role of the pediatric dental hygienist is imperative to the patient’s future success in oral health.
Are your social media accounts preventing you from scoring your dream job?
Editor’s Note: Amber Auger, RDH, is one of the five speakers scheduled to speak at the RDH Evolution Conference in Chicago on April 5-8. The conference, which is designed to assist dental hygienist to initiate an evolution with their careers, presents Amber delivering a course titled, “Progressive Public Health: Hygiene in Alternative Settings,” at 9 am on Friday, April 6.
“Investing in yourself is the best investment you will ever make. It will not only improve your life, it will improve the lives of all those around you. “—Robin Sharma
ACCORDING TO THE CENTERS FOR DISEASE CONTROL (CDC), one in five children between the ages of five and 11 has untreated tooth decay. (1) Providing education that increases the urgency of oral health for both patient and parent is essential to reducing the patient’s risk of tooth decay. Selecting therapeutic chairside products and personalized home care products to meet the specific needs of the pediatric patient helps fulfill the preventive role of the dental hygienist.
GNDMY 2017: Premier Product Showcase
Our preventive role as dental hygienists is not always easy, especially when it comes to pediatrics. Achieving compliance in parents who continually justify their children’s poor oral hygiene and tooth decay by saying “they have my weak teeth” can test any dental hygienist’s patience. The truth is, we have the ability to prevent tooth decay, and preventive sealants are one of the most effective methods.
The number one reason for dental lawsuits is undiagoised Periodontal Disease. When we do not properly diagnosis our patients conditions, we can not effectively treat them.
Those who were born from 1977-2000 are considered millennials. Often misunderstood, studies show this generation to be optimistic, generous, team-oriented, and highly adaptable. Accounting for 75.4 million people in America, outnumbering baby boomers, it is essential to understand how to properly manage millennial team members, as well as effectively engage millennial patients.
Prior to graduating dental hygiene school, I enrolled in a financial course that was led by financial expert Dave Ramsey. The seven-week course changed the way I viewed money. With over $80,000 in student debt, it was imperative that I used my hygiene salary wisely to not only pay off debt but to allow compounding interest in a retirement fund.
Dental hygienists play a vital role in the promotion of optimal oral health. Providing custom recommendations based on patients’ specific needs and limitations empowers them to achieve the results we clinicians desire. The increase of risk factors such as medication-induced xerostomia, diets high in sugar, and carbonated beverages can leave patients discouraged, perhaps maybe even expecting tooth decay. An unexamined risk factor is the oral pH of a patient, as an acidic oral cavity can allow bacteria to thrive and enamel to demineralize.
As dental professionals, we need to be prepared to combat bias and untrue information our patients are exposed to on social media.
Teledentistry allows oral health care to be provided in remote areas and nontraditional environments, as well as facilitate collaboration with primary care physicians and emergency room doctors. It provides a virtual dental consultation using intraoral photos taken by the clinician on site.
Educating our patients is a vital role we play in achieving oral health. Visual aids are essential to allow the information to be accessible and to the patient. In fact, 83% of the population learn and retain more when visual aids such as photos are used when explaining a new concept. Implementing an intraoral camera will allow the dental professional to clarify, establish, and coordinate specific concepts that will create urgency for treatment.
Radiographic evidence of bone loss is best determined with adequate and current radiographs, most typically a full-mouth periapical survey, including horizontal or vertical bitewings. Radiographic evaluation of the distribution and severity of bone loss, bone density, root anatomy, and approximation to other teeth provides specific information that will help in determining a proper diagnosis of the patient.
The power of networking should never be underestimated. A study done by LinkedIn discovered that 85% of jobs are filled by networking of some sort. Every conversation should be viewed as an opportunity to connect with someone who can help you, or who you can help. Here are five ways to help you network to get work!
QUESTION: I work for a dentist who allows patients to refuse x-rays. I have a patient coming in soon for a prophy who hasn't been into our office in two years and has never allowed x-rays. I also have a patient who has refused x-rays for 15 years, only comes in annually for a prophy, and has obvious signs of periodontal disease. I’m new to the office and I honestly love the staff and job, but the dentist won't back me up about patients needing x-rays. I've never been in an office where this is the norm and I’m very concerned. Can gum disease even be diagnosed with probes alone? Even if I told the patient my recommendations for scaling and root planing, I wouldn't do treatment without x-rays unless there was a medical reason. For what it's worth, we are a digital office and the patient who has refused for 15 years has insurance!
The slow release of bioavailable calcium and phosphate ions reinforces the benefits of the fluoride varnish, which continues working throughout the treatment period and helps reverse the effects of dietary sugars. Studies demonstrate that the four-hour cumulative fluoride release is superior in Embrace Varnish, releasing 10 times more fluoride than the leading brand. There is no mixing required, which allows for an effective and uniform dose.
Twice as Nice uniforms are designed with a removable liner that aids in temperature regulation. The liners are made of performance fabrics that are thin and moisture-wicking to prevent a bulky appearance in the scrubs. The fabric is extremely low maintenance, iron-free, fade, and spill-free, all while maintaining its long-term shape.
Congratulations, you have survived dental hygiene school! Now that you’re free from competencies, it’s time to land your first official dental hygiene job. The reality is you may be competing with classmates for the same position; therefore, you must make a stellar first impression. Here are four ways to differentiate yourself from other candidates and get offered your first paying dental hygiene job!
The Oral Cancer Foundation reports nearly 50,000 patients will be diagnosed with oral oropharyngeal cancer this year. It is estimated that one person every hour on the hour will die from oral oropharyngeal cancer. Often, oral cancer is discovered after it has metastasized to other areas such as the lymph nodes and neck. Early diagnosis increases the survival rate and decreases the risk of metastasizing; fluorescence technology aids the clinician in detecting abnormal lesions sooner.
The loss of enamel is a common problem in everyday dental practice, and studies indicate that one in eight adults experience hypersensitivity.~~1 Numerous factors can lead to loss of enamel, such as grinding, clenching, abfraction, abrasion, and erosion. Remin Pro by VOCO offers multiple therapeutic agents to help decrease the risk of tooth decay.
For me, my passion for dental hygiene began in the sixth grade. My science teacher was reviewing the oral cavity, the eruption stages, and the diet and caries process with our class. I was hooked. I decided that moment I would pursue a career in the dental field. Although my original plan of becoming a dentist changed, I have found a fulfilling career in multiple roles.
Dental hygienists often struggle to gain patient compliance with flossing. The American Dental Association reports that only one out of four Americans floss daily. The American Academy of Periodontology concludes that nearly 27% of American adults admit to lying to their dentist about how often they floss. Studies show that Americans would rather do dishes, sit in gridlock traffic and even clean the toilet before flossing!
When coaching dental offices, I often am asked how to embrace the “high-turnover” generation, also known as Millennials. As a millennial and RDH myself, I offer a unique view on what motivates team members and creates a positive work environment. In my experience, mentorship provides a sense of ownership in a company, creating a culture of increased passion and positivity.
It is no secret that the dental hygiene profession is physically demanding. A study published in the journal BioMed Central calculated that of the 624 dental hygienists the scientists polled, 85% of them had neck pain. Musculoskeletal pain is a common chronic pain in dental professionals and may lead to a serious physical disability.
When we discuss electric toothbrushes with our patients, we think Oral B and Sonicare. Beauty company FOREO is another alternative to meet the needs of our sensitive patients.
Learn to overcome the repeated x-ray refusal often given by patients who lack the knowledge to understand the benefits of films.
The benefits of exercise have shown to significantly improve overall health. A few of the numerous benefits include controlled weight, combating health conditions and diseases, improvement of mood, increase of energy, and promoting deeper sleep.
Dental professionals' bodies endure a lot of strain, and careers are often cut short by injury. Here's a few tips to improve your health inside and outside the operatory, keeping the career you love going longer.
The American Dental Hygiene Association defines the role of a dental hygienist as a dynamic one including the role of educator, clinician, advocate, manager, and researcher. We serve as oral heath detectives through evaluation of the oral cavity; defining our patients risks of caries, periodontal disease and systemic disease.
Despite our patients buying a recommended product, they may not use it properly for the optimum results. Limited dexterity and improper brushing techniques will continue increase the risk of periodontal disease and tooth decay.
According to the Center for Disease Control (CDC), nearly one third of patients age 65 and older have untreated tooth decay. National data demonstrates that 7 percent of adults ages 65 and over have had tooth pain at least twice during the last 6 months and only 1% had access to care.
Clinical studies continue to confirm the power of a fluoride application, demonstrating a 50% to 70% decrease of tooth decay. Utilization of a fluoride varnish is more effective due to the higher concentration and the ability of the varnish to adhere to the tooth surface more effectively.
For decades, dental professionals have been educating patients about the importance of plaque removal. Home care is difficult for patients with crowding, orthodontics, and limited dexterity, as well as, of course, for young patients.
We don't drive cars with the same engines that we did 20 years ago, and we don't use the same surgical instruments as we did 20 years ago. However, we are using the same protocols to treat periodontal disease.
For decades, hygienists have probed clinical pocket depths and attachment levels, which have been recognized as the dentist's most important tools in diagnosing periodontal health and disease. We once tortured peers as we learned how to stand tall on our fulcrums in an attempt to master the walking stroke.
Dental professionals spend hours a day hinged over their patients. When a hygienist preforms SCRP treatment, they can be locked in a poor posture for hours on end. Technologies such as loupes and saddle stools have been created to promote better posture; however, they do not change the clinician’s behavior. Despite the loupe and saddle stool investment, we can still find necks tilted and our backs curved.
As you know, a child should have the first dentist visit by his or her first birthday. Dental appointments at a young age allow you to assist children's parents in developing a healthy diet and identifying areas of their children's mouths that are at risk for dental decay.
Holding multiple licenses in numerous states can be very difficult to manage. Most clinicians have experienced a moment of panic when they are unable to locate their certificate from a conference they attended earlier in the year. When we are unable to present the confirmation of CE credits to the states where we hold our licensure, our careers are on the line. The two creators of CEZoom have created an app to eliminate the hassle of tracking continuing education courses.
A dental hygienist is the patient’s oral health advocate. We consistently strive to empower our patients to have meticulous homecare to prevent disease. Oral probiotics can give our patients the additional advantage that they need to achieve a healthy mouth.
Proper diagnosis of our patient's peridontal health is essential to providing the treatment needed to prevent the progression of disease. The SoproCare camera aids in patient education and increases awareness of infection.
The American Dental Hygienists' Association defines the role of a dental hygienist as a dynamic one, which includes the roles of educator, clinician, advocate, manager, and researcher. We serve as oral health detectives through evaluation of the oral cavity, defining our patients' risks of caries, periodontal disease, and systemic disease. An estimated 250 million prescriptions are written for anti-anxiety medications yearly.
Tokuyama product highlights from GNYDM 2017
Our role as dental hygienists includes preventing the progression of disease. Traditionally, we remove periodontal pathogens and biofilm both subgingivally and supragingivally through hand and ultrasonic oscillation. However, removing calculus and biofilm through debridement, repeated instrumentation with hand and ultrasonic technologies can cause gingival recession and loss of tooth structure.
In this interview from the 2017 Greater New York Dental Meeting, I spoke with Jodie Heimbach, RDH, a territory sales manager for Sunstar, about Monsterz products making their debut at the meeting.
Amber Auger RDH, MPH interviews Dental Post owner at RDHUOR 2019.
In this video from the 2020 Chicago Midwinter Meeting, Amber Auger, RDH, MPH, talks with Jim Langeloh of Dove Dental Products about the Capt-all handheld amalgam separator HVE capture tip. The Capt-all keeps amalgam out of dental equipment, vacuum lines and secondary filters. Watch the video to learn more.
Our dental patients can inspire us to see the world differently. Amber Auger, RDH, MPH shares her experiences here.