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: Patient with Severe Sensitivity when Scaling

I have a patient with extreme thermal and tactile sensitivity but has great probing depths. She qualifies for a prophy but needs to be anesthetized due to her sensitivity. Therefore, we do 1/2 mouth one visit, and the other half another visit. What insurance code would we use to bill this out as? Any suggestions besides local anesthesia to...

Ask Kara RDH: Inadequate Instruments when Temping

I am a new grad working as a temp hygienist with an agency. I’m noticing more and more that the offices I’m temping in do not have sufficient instruments at all! I know I was spoiled in school to have like 5 of everything, but now I’m working in offices that don’t have any curettes at all - no...

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: 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: 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: 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: 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: 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...

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