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: Is the office legally covered with signed informed refusal forms?

The new office I work for has informed refusal forms for everything; radiographs, perio chart, SRP, etc. To me, this is supervised neglect for over two years of no radiographs and one year for perio chart. I had one patient who had not had a perio chart in several years due to refusal. I explained to the patient why...

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: How did you deal with stresses of dental hygiene school?

I’m currently a dental hygiene student in my second semester of my first year. It’s starting to get really tough, and I’m feeling the pressure. We’re just starting to see patients, and I’m feeling really lost with everything and discouraged. Being a dental hygienist is something I want very badly but I’m getting nervous that I will fail. Did...

Ask Kara RDH: Young Hygienist Doesn’t Scale Thoroughly

Our office has three hygienists; myself, who has been a hygienist for 35 years, my coworker “Lorna” who has been a hygienist 45 years, and our newest addition “Lucy” who graduated almost three years ago. Lucy gets done with ALL of her patients in 40 minutes. Lorna and I stay on time, but we usually aren’t as fast. The...

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: What is the best way to suggest perio treatment to a patient?

I just started my first dental hygiene job, and I’m having a hard time on how to suggest perio treatment and referrals. What’s the best way to explain perio to a patient and how to stress the importance not to leave deep pocket depths and bleeding untreated? With time, the more patients you see and explain the need for referrals...

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: 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: Student Feeling Overwhelmed with Seeing Patients in Clinic

I'm a student and am just starting seeing patients in clinic. I am having a hard time remembering how to find the correct working end of an instrument, detecting calculus, and all of it! Please tell me this is something that will come easier with more experience and time because I’m being very hard on myself and am overwhelmed! With...

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