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: Only Polishing Children and Considering It a Child Prophy

My doctor wants to change the protocol in our office for the treatment of children. I’m concerned about the level of care associated with the change he wants to implement. He wants all children to be seen by a dental assistant (dental assistants are allowed to polish in my state with certification) instead of a dental hygienist. The hygienist...

Ask Kara RDH: What can I recommend to patients with heavy stain?

I have had several patients in the past who come in the office with severe stain from wine and coffee. I usually try to anesthetize these patients for comfort and use the ultrasonic, polish, and air polish, but it doesn’t remove all the stain in the time allotted. What can I recommend to these patients to use at home...

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: Asking for a Raise

I work for one doctor at 2 of his offices. They are each in 2 completely different areas and therefore have two different average salary rates for the areas. I get paid $43 at one office which is okay for the area, but then I get paid the same amount for the other office when the average salary is...

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: How Often Should I Sharpen My Instruments?

I am a new grad and started full-time at a new office. The hygienist I replaced sharpened her instruments once a month. I feel that is not nearly enough, but I know this office doesn’t like ordering new instruments often. My concerns are I don’t want to wear down instruments very fast by over-sharpening, and I don’t want to...

Ask Kara RDH: Co-worker Underdiagnosing & I Have to Explain to Patient

What do you do if you have a patient that’s been coming to the same practice for 15 years as is treated by the same hygienist, but I am now seeing them due to a scheduling conflict, and the patient presents with moderate subgingival calculus and slight bone loss on X-rays?  Because of this, it is recommended to the...

Ask Kara RDH: The first job out of hygiene school is so stressful I feel like a failure

Just some background info first. I applied to jobs every day for a week until I got a call from a dentist to set up an interview. The interview went ok, and I was asked for a working interview. The pay was going to be less than I had asked for but I understand being a new grad and...

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...

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