Is Malpractice Liability Insurance Necessary for Dental Hygienists?

Malpractice is defined as “a dereliction of professional duty or failure to exercise an ordinary degree of professional skill or learning by one rendering professional services which results in injury, loss, or damage.” Dental malpractice is a deviation from the standard of care, failure to diagnose and/or treat a patient resulting in injury to them3. Dental hygienists are licensed professionals...

Increasing Productivity by Anesthetizing for Your Doctor Should Increase Your Paycheck

Anesthesia is the most feared part of a dental visit. Patients express their fear of the needle the instant they walk in the dental office, even if they are only there for routine prophylaxis. Daily, in private practice, I am asked if the patient “will be getting a shot today?” Sure we have been taught decreased fear strategies while...

6 Ways to Organize Your Op for Maximum Efficiency

Everyone knows that feeling you get when you walk into a space that is cluttered, crowded, or disheveled. A little anxiety starts to bubble up, and you immediately want to leave or start cleaning. You don’t want to have this feeling when you walk into your workspace, and you certainly don’t want your patients to feel that way. You...

10 Pet Peeves of Dental Hygienists (Plus 5 Patient Pet Peeves)

We all go through our days capping our frustrations from those unexpected little annoyances, aka pet peeves. A pet peeve is defined as “a minor annoyance that individuals identify as particularly annoying to them, to a greater degree than others may find.” Whether you are driving in your car and someone pulls out in front of you, only to turn...

Dental Hygienists and the Business of Dentistry

As dental hygienists we see ourselves as clinicians, educators, patient advocates, sometimes we might even feel like therapists, but there is one aspect of our role in the operatory many of us shy away from, the business of dentistry. Yes, dentistry is a medical service, and it exists to provide valuable care to its patients, but it also exists...

Working Through Grief: My Story of Loss and Survival

I want to talk about a subject nearly untouched in the dental world, grief. I went into dentistry because I feared I would have been too emotional to handle nursing. I felt dentistry was a safer choice. I could still help and serve others but without the messy emotions associated with losing patients. Right? I decided a long time ago...

Should Dental Hygienists be Independent Contractors or Employees?

At the end of every year, dental hygiene groups and forums are blowing up with questions concerning the 1099 they received from a dentist they worked for at some point that year. Most of these questions are regarding dentists that hired the hygienist on a temporary basis. Many of the responses focus on the legality of being paid with...

Work-Life Balance: Managing the Crazy Hats Hygienists Wear

As dental hygienists, we wear some crazy hats. We may serve as the OSHA director, radiation officer, we might order supplies, can be a maintenance person, a sterilization guru, a front office assistant, and in some offices you may even serve as the janitor. At home, we are wife/husband, mother/father, daughter/son, friend, chauffeur, chef, maid, and coach. Balancing all...

How I Beat the Dental Blues by Remembering Why I Started

As most typical teenagers, I toyed with many ideas throughout out my high school career. Initially, I wanted to do be an architect. After a brief job shadow with a local architect, I quickly realized the only thing appealing to me about that job was the electric eraser. Then I moved on to nursing around the same time my...

Dental Burnout: You Don’t Have to Work Full Time to Work Full Time

Dental hygiene has been known as a “mommy job” in my community. We don’t have to take call, we don’t have to work weekends, and most of us work part-time. I have known few hygienists who do work “full-time,” and most of them have expressed feeling what we like to call clinical “burnout.” They end up feeling the need...

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