6 Things Hygienists Wish Their Doctor/Boss Knew

As dental hygienists, we respect the doctor we work for. After all, it is their practice, their business, and we work either under direct or indirect supervision of them. They are the boss. Because of this respect, some topics that are hard or just plain uncomfortable to bring up with them. We might also hold back because we don’t...

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...

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,...

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....

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,...

A Hygienist’s 10-year Anniversary: Discouraged to Delighted

To some, ten years seems like a lifetime. To others, it goes by in the blink of an eye. As I come upon my 10-year anniversary as a registered dental hygienist, I’ve found myself in deep, almost solemn reflection. What have I accomplished? Am I happy? Am I thankful for this career? What are my professional goals? It’s easy to...

Use Your Voice, Dental Hygienists!

Let me ask you something: how many of you have ever felt like you do not have a voice in the workplace? We hygienists often have a negative reputation as the “divas” of the dental office. This reputation is not always undeserved. I know for certain I am guilty of just being a straight-up brat once in a while, and...

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...

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...

What Other Hygienists Do: Be an Advocate Through a Non-profit

Advocacy is a huge part of working with the community and different populations. When I think of advocacy, my first thought was Alicia Murria, RDH, MS(c). She has been a dental hygienist for eight years, is the executive director of a non-profit, and a hygiene faculty member with a dental technology company since 2017. My other articles in this series...

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