Ask Kara RDH: Frustration About Backordered HVE Equipment

Question I’m super frustrated that in order to use the ultrasonic, polish, or even use the air/water syringe, I have to use an HVE to control aerosols. I’m mostly frustrated because the equipment to make using the HVE easier for me is on backorder. How do I even know if what is ordered will control aerosols? What should I do? Kara...

Ask Kara RDH: Why Isn’t Today’s RDH Addressing New Infection Control Guidelines?

Why aren’t there any articles on Today’s RDH addressing new infection control guidelines for when hygienists return to work? The short answer is because new infection control guidelines for post-pandemic hygiene don’t exist. (Please take note of the date this was published/posted) Long answer: Right now, the CDC only has interim guidelines for infection control practices for seeing emergency patients. They...

Ask Kara RDH: How to address patients who are routinely late?

Is there a polite way to tell a patient to come on time? I get that things happen and are out of their control, but I have a few patients that are always 10-20 minutes late for all appointments. What’s the best way to address this? The offices I’ve worked at that run smoothly, on-time, and with the least amount...

Ask Kara RDH: What would you do if you’re being questioned on probing depths?

My Director of Operations had her friend come in for a cleaning last week. She had not been to the dentist for ten years but has excellent hygiene. My Director of Operations got mad at me because she didn’t need a deep cleaning. Probing depths were healthy with no bone loss or inflammation present. She is now having the...

Ask Kara RDH: Good Job Offer, but 45 Minute Appointments

I was recently offered a job with more pay and good benefits. However, the appointments are only 45 minutes, except for SRP. Also, the equipment, such as the ultrasonic, are old. The office is pretty laid back, and the people and doctor are very nice, unlike my current, very well-equipped office. I did the working interview, and I felt...

Ask Kara RDH: Is Burnout in Clinical Hygiene Normal?

I have been doing clinical hygiene 3-4 days per week for over a year now and I’m already feeling burnt out. I work at a great office and love what I do but have noticed that patient’s attitudes make me dislike the job. It’s annoying when a patient tries to dictate care (no cold water, no ultrasonic, negative reactions...

Ask Kara RDH: Do I really need to sterilize slow-speed handpieces after every patient?

I read one of your articles regarding infection control. Do slow-speed handpieces really need to be sterilized after every patient when using a disposable prophy angles? We are currently sterilizing at the end of each workday. Yes, slow-speed handpieces must be heat-sterilized in between every patient. Even though you use disposable prophy angles, and slow-speed handpieces are considered semi-critical devices,...

Ask Kara RDH: Patient Refusal Forms

The new office I work for has refusal forms for everything; X-rays, perio chart, SRP, etc. To me, this is supervised neglect for over two years of X-rays and one year for periodontal charting. I’m not sure about non-surgical periodontal therapy/SRP. I had one patient who had not had a perio chart in several years due to refusal. I...

Ask Kara RDH: What should I do about doctor cutting my pay?

I’ve been a hygienist at my current office for two years now. When the doctor hired me, he told me he would pay me $30 per hour ON ONE CONDITION: he said I must have at least five patients per day. If I have less than five, he cuts my pay down to $16 an hour. I agreed only...

Ask Kara RDH: Holding X-ray Sensor While Exposing Radiographs

I work in a pediatric office, and the doctor won’t buy a size 0 sensor. Because of this, to “get the shot” we are having to hold the sensor while exposing radiographs multiple times per day because of our patients’ small mouths. How do you address exposure concerns with the doctor? This is a tough one because guidelines for operator...

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