How Dental Hygienists Can Make a Difference with Native American Populations

The 574 Native American and Alaska Native tribes in the United States own 325 reservations and trust lands.1 Seven of them exist within my home state of Montana,2 and 6.7% of Montana’s population consists of Native Americans or Alaska Natives, which equates to roughly 71,608 native civilians.3 Although Natives make up a small portion of the population in the...

Smart Workday Stretches That Promote Longevity for Dental Hygienists (Videos Included)

Throughout my 30-year career as a clinical dental hygienist, I have had several physical therapy sessions for hand, shoulder, neck, and lower back chronic pain and fatigue. I found great comfort and release of tension with these simple and smart stretches. Please do these stretches gently and only as your body feels comfortable. If any stretch makes you feel uncomfortable...

Teamwork: Open Communication with Dentist Leads to Happier Dental Patients

Many individuals comprise a dental team in an office, and the professional relationship between the dental hygienist and the dentist – frequently, the employer – should be nurtured. Both dental professionals are pieces of the entire puzzle of a patient's care. It is crucial to understand what each piece does and recommends to patients, so there will be consistency...

Feeling Blue: How Dental Hygienists Say Goodbye to Offices They Love

Quitting your job is never easy, but it’s even more difficult to leave a position that you love. If you’re employed by an office that hasn’t met your expectations, even then the decision to leave can be difficult. However, in that case, it may lead to eventual relief. On the other hand, if you’re part of a dental team with...

Reflections in My Dental Mirror: Tips for Younger Hygienists

My dental career began in Goose Creek, South Carolina, in 1987 at the ripe old age of 20. I was a certified dental assistant and immediately became hooked. I’m not sure what made me love it so; it could have been the smell of eugenol in the air, the fashionable scrubs I was able to wear, or the bright,...

4 Ways to Surrender the “Me” and Become “We” in the Dental Office

It takes everyone in a dental office working as a team to provide the best care to patients and establishing a happy workplace. Have you ever had a coworker improve your mood in an instant? Besides gifting a million dollars, here are four ways you can return the favor. Remember Significant Events Birthdays, anniversaries, etc. I can’t tell you how great...

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...

Ethical Dilemma: Trying to Encourage Patient to Seek a Second Opinion

Recently, I was in a situation where I thought I needed to be more of an advocate for the patient than agree with the dentist’s treatment plan. This situation tugged at my heart, and I didn’t know how to encourage a second opinion professionally. The 69-year-old patient left the office thinking she needed five crowns. They were diagnosed a year...

Deafening Truth: Without Ear Protection, Hearing Loss Plagues Dental Professionals

Dental professionals have always been masters of personal protection equipment, and we have lately donned more PPE than ever before. Despite being covered from head to toe in gowns, gloves, masks, head coverings, and loupes, many still fail to equip themselves with a vital piece of PPE – earplugs. When noise levels are taken into consideration, it is often in...

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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