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: Rumors Being Spread About Work Ethic

I recently graduated from dental hygiene school and will be returning to my hometown to find a job. I’m from a small town with about 20-30 dental offices, and I have worked at two of them. In the process of trying to find a job, I have discovered an untruthful statement about my work ethic, specifically, my punctuality. A...

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: Patients Complain I Talk too Much

When I am uncomfortable, running late, stressed out, fill-in the blank—–, I talk too loud and tend to talk too much. This “she talks too much” has inspired two patients complaining this last year in our reviews. I really try not to, but sometimes I misread the patient and pow! Any advice? This can be a tough one because you...

Ask Kara RDH: Perio Maintenance Patients not Showing Improvement, SRP Again?

I am a new dental hygienist, licensed for about four months now. I see a lot of patients for periodontal maintenance. My concern with some more involved perio patients I’m running into is, during periodontal probing there isn’t a huge difference from the previous charting. Their pocket depths are ranging from 4-7 mm, OH is poor/fair, and it seems...

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: Anxiety Giving Local Anesthetic

Please help me and tell me I am not alone… am I alone? I have been a hygienist for three years. However, my anxiety over giving injections has not gotten any better. I get shaky and feel like my fear is written all over my face. I am the only hygienist who is licensed to give injections in my...

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: 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: Other Hygienist Criticizing My Work to Patients and in Chart Notes

I work in an office one day a week. I am a new grad, and this is my first job. We recently hired a new hygienist with years of experience. She saw one of my SRP patients at their first recall recently. This patient has poor oral hygiene and up to 9+ mm pockets. She said that whoever did...

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