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...

Dental Drama: Is a Lifetime Movie Playing Out in Your Office?

I don’t know about you, but I only like drama on a stage, TV, in a movie, or in a book. Many of us work primarily in an office with women, and it can be a challenge with all that estrogen flowing. We spend more time with our co-workers than we do our own families. So how do we...

Dental Patients Say the Craziest Things

As hygienists, we see all kinds of patients and hear many stories from them. We know their life stories and their families. We are people-oriented which is the thing I love the most about dental hygiene.  However, sometimes our patients say or do things that we aren’t expecting, and we have to come up with a quick, yet professional,...

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...

Expand Your Hygiene Career By Thinking Like an Entrepreneur

The question comes up a lot: How do I expand my career outside of the clinical setting? It is quite difficult to answer this question. Not because there are no opportunities, there’s actually many. It’s because there’s no one-size-fits-all answer to answer this question. It really depends on you, as an individual; including your particular goals, expectations, skillset, and what...

How Do I Do All This in 60 Minutes?

The race of the clock, the fifth glare you've given your doctor in the last 10 minutes, the sweat dripping down your back, the panic rising, the need to strip off your lab coat and turn on your fan immediately, the pacing, the frantically trying to find and set up another op for your next patient. TIME MANAGEMENT -...

Front Desk: Help Where It Makes Sense, Without Stepping on Toes

Have you ever quarreled with the front desk personnel? No, never! No one ever disagrees, right? Fortunately and unfortunately, I have been in the front desk’s shoes. For two years before beginning dental hygiene school, I was the office manager for a dental practice. Guess what? It’s HARD WORK. I ultimately decided that reception/office work was not for me....

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