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: Should I Stay at My Current Office or Move On?

I’m a new grad. When I first was hired, my employer promised me 3-4 days a week, if not more. There are currently two hygienists, and they hired me as the third. I was filling in for a maternity leave, but since the office was expanding, he was going to keep me. Now that the other hygienist is back...

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 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: Full Mouth Debridement before Prophy

Since I’ve started at this office, I feel I have seen too many FMD patients. Patients that I believe, and have been treatment planned, as an adult prophy, however, the doctor is diagnosing as needing an FMD first. Patients that come in with heavy supragingival calculus and moderate/heavy plaque, I can understand in order to remove deposits for an...

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: 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...

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: 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: 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...

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