We can all probably relate to moments when we lose sight of the reasons we went into the dental field in the first place and, at times, can get caught up in the negative, forgetting what a great profession we are lucky to be a member of. Everyone has their own journey and motivational factors that led them to become an RDH, but something we all have in common is that we are members of a wonderful profession. We should be proud to be registered dental hygienists.
Here are five reasons why I am proud to the have letters R-D-H after my name.
First and foremost, I am a caregiver. I pride myself on the relationships that I build with my patients, and I make it my priority to provide them with the best care possible.
As a dental hygienist, I provide much more than a debridement of a patient’s teeth during a 60-minute appointment. As a dental professional, I familiarize myself with the patients’ overall health history, medications, and allergies to incorporate into the care that I provide.
I use preventive methods to prevent oral disease and promote health, therapeutic methods to arrest or control oral disease, and educational methods to explain the concepts and demonstrate self-care techniques. A philosophy based on care and respect for others creates meaningful relationships with my patients.
2) Hard Worker
Ask any hygienist, and they will agree that being a dental hygienist is hard work. The responsibilities of a dental hygienist involve wearing many hats simultaneously.
Throughout the day, I find myself not only being a clinician providing oral care to patients but also a treatment coordinator, supply stocker, instrument sharpener, motivational speaker, educator, and schedule planner. At the end of a long, hard day, I feel a great sense of accomplishment, and I know that I made a difference in the lives of my patients through a variety of my abilities.
3) Well Educated
Not only am I educated in oral health, but some of the prerequisites to gain admission into my dental hygiene program were English, speech, sociology, psychology, chemistry, nutrition, and biology. Once in the program, I completed courses in radiology, pathology, ethics, pharmacology, medical emergencies, dental practice management, and research.
All of the experiences provided by these courses allowed me to receive an excellent education and assisted in developing me into a well-rounded dental professional.
Beyond my initial education in dental hygiene, I remain a life-long learner. Each state has a mandatory amount of continuing education courses a dental hygienist must obtain. As a life-long learner, I love learning about the updated technology, latest studies, and new products on the market. Staying current on all aspects of the dental profession, allows me to always incorporate the best into my patient care.
4) Critical Thinker
No patient is the same, and each patient presents with their own unique set of concerns, goals, and oral health status. Every day, I utilize problem-solving and critical thinking skills to make dental hygiene diagnoses and create a one-of-a-kind treatment plan for each one of my patients.
As a dental hygienist, I love to apply my critical thinking skills to improve the patient’s oral and overall health. This not only gives me a sense of purpose, but it also builds the bond between the patient and myself.
5) Support System Member
As a dental professional, I am fortunate enough to be a part of an oral health team that shares the same goal of providing quality care to patients. Working alongside my hygiene colleagues creates a sense of satisfaction and support in the pursuit of achieving any task.
In addition to the support from my fellow hygiene peers, I am also supported by the American Dental Hygienists’ Association, which is a national organization that has been representing dental hygiene since 1923. The ADHA represents over 185,000 dental hygienists in the United States and supports the profession by promoting programs related to education, research, licensure, and practice. I am proud to be a professional member of an organization that provides such strong support and advocacy for myself, fellow hygienists, and the profession of dental hygiene.
At times, we can all get caught up in the negative talk, and it is easy to forget what a great profession we are lucky to be a member of. These are just a select few of the many reasons I am proud to be a dental hygienist.