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...

How to Stay Positive with Patients & Coworkers

Being a dental hygienist can obviously be tiring. Seeing patient after patient can slowly chip away at your positivity. Having to work with negative co-workers, or people you don’t get along with makes everything that much more difficult. Dealing with problem patients, staying on schedule, and having to put up with not-so-kind coworkers in the office can make work an...

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...

5 Patients That Drive Dental Hygienists Crazy

All dental hygienists can appreciate that sometimes there are those patients who can make clinical life a little more difficult. The following is a list of five patient types that can test our patience and some strategies to better manage the challenges they present. The Self-Proclaimed Expert We all know them, they have proudly consulted social media to brush up on...

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...

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....

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...

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...

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...

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...

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