Depressed Dental Hygienist

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Comments (14)

ToothMonster in Brampton, Ontario

17 months ago

After 2 years in the profession. I'm starting to feel very depressed on my situation as a Hygienist. Aside from the low work hours per week despite of having an employer a couple days a week, I also hate my boss and how disorganize this profession is. What can I do to get out of this profession since I don't see my situation getting better. I regret the fact that I have pursued this profession despite what other people have been telling me. I was just wondering if there's any other people who are in the same boat as I am.

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WhiteKat in Ottawa, Ontario

17 months ago

Hi ToothMonster,

I'm sorry to hear you are depressed about your situation as a Dental Hygienist. In answer to your question, yes, there are other people who are in the same boat.

Dental Hygiene in Ontario is an awful 'profession' to be in right now. There are way too many RDH's. The law of supply and demand, means that we (RDH's)cannot win. It is extremely unlikely to find employment where you can fulfill your standards of practice and make your employer happy as well. Most employers (dentists) could not care less about your profession and just want to work you as hard as possible. If you see something wrong (say an issue in infection control), trying to fix it can cost you your job. In addition, if you are not young and pretty, they don't want you.

Dental hygiene is just a 'pseudo' profession now. The college talks the talk, but the reality is that it is next to impossible to be an ethical, professional, dental hygienist committed to quality care for the 'clients'(they are 'patients' to our bosses). The environment that most of us work in (business run by dentists) is simply just not conducive for us to be able to practice what we were taught in school. Our college holds us accountable to much higher standards than does the dental college for its dentists - for example sterilization procedures that are 'standards' for us, but 'guidelines' for them. Our audit program makes theirs look like a joke, yet we work for them. Anyone can see that 'standards of practice' mean nothing in an environment where the boss does not have to live by them.

Personally, I am done with dental hygiene after 4 years in the so-called profession, and gave up my registration this past January. Taking that step, to put dental hygiene behind me, after the tortuous years at boot camp school, and the abuse by dentists in the real world, has gone a long way towards easing my depression.

Sometimes, you just have to stop beating a dead horse.

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waterbug100 in Duncan, British Columbia

17 months ago

@ WhiteKat..congratulations on your decision.

I wouldn't wish this on any DH, but the reality is just as you said..no jobs, ethics out the window, no professionalism, no respect etc.

I hope other DH hopefuls read your post and take heed.

It's been a sad state of affairs for a long time now, but some people still insist that they will be the exception, land a great job and all will be roses.

@ Toothmonster..you sound young..so go do something else. This 'profession' has had it's day. CDAs will be doing our work in the future with all the courses available to them. We are a dieing 'job' and there is very little hope for the future.

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acn1 in Indiana

17 months ago

You are not the only one depressed about this profession. The first two years out of school for me was the most painful and dark time in my life and it also took a toll on my marriage. From not being able to find work to finding work that would diminish my confidence and having near panic attacks on the way to work, praying that God would give me strength to get through the day, I spent many hours worrying and crying. A year ago this past week I made the decision to leave the profession and it was the best decision that I have made for my marriage and my sanity. Keep your head up and have the courage to leave behind a "career" that doesn't make you happy or allow you to grow and prosper.

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waterbug100 in Duncan, British Columbia

17 months ago

Joe..we don't use drills..this is a forum for DH. Please keep your silly opinions to yourself. Thank you.

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Joe Gagill in Monticello, New York

17 months ago

waterbug100 in Duncan, British Columbia said: Joe..we don't use drills..this is a forum for DH. Please keep your silly opinions to yourself. Thank you.

Nothing wrong with silly, but I'll stay away from this thread as per your request. Have a good summer.

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SBRDH in miami beach, Florida

17 months ago

It breaks my heart to see what has happened to the dental hygiene profession. I've been a practicing hygienist for the past 20 years and see it getting worse every year. In my eyes the ADHA has not done a thing to help out new or seasoned hygienists, and in return I will not be a member or support them in anyway. To this day people still want to become dental hygienists because the goverment postings say the job market for us is going to grow 36% by 2020. Then you have the schools lying and saying that once you graduate you can go out and make close to six figures a year. The bottom line is that students equal jobs for the dental hygiene instructors and nothing else.

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Superfluous RDH in Ottawa, Ontario

17 months ago

It's criminal--to see that we've created an environment where those who benefit from the present employment situation are the institutions themselves and their employees--and students are used as pawns. And people are so desperate for employment now that they'll pay the exorbitant fees that the schools are charging, because the job forecasts are rosy and naive people, new to the field, don't know what it's really like.
New grad DH students, who are unable to find work, are now enrolling in the DA program, just to get a foot in the door of a dental office. Then the DA field will fill up and the wages will continue to plummet. And what'll be created next--another type of dental worker, the DH/DA hybrid?
Something has to change.

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still retired in Texas

17 months ago

I remember DA's in Texas could not put there hands in the patients mouth and there where ways around this. Now DA's in Texas with certification can place sealants a "expanded duty." How convient to hire a DA vs a RDH. Our state boards need a serious review of these expanded duties that narrow employment for the hygienist. The only ones who benefit from this monetarily is the BOSS!

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waterbug100 in Duncan, British Columbia

17 months ago

@ still retired..lol!

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still retired in Texas

17 months ago

Joes a good guy and humorous. Hes on the Rant forum with alot of others who are just as funny... talking about unemployment to underemployed . U should peek in read their post. I go over there because it makes me laugh and shake the sad.

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RDH Ruling...may be NOT anymore in San Diego, California

13 months ago

Wonder no more... I am among many who are out of job and struggling. I wish that people who are thinking or even working towards getting into hygiene school to GET OUT NOW. There are NO JOBS out there.
I even have lots of experience in the hygiene field but still no jobs, very very depressing, God help me and other who are in the same situation that I'm in.

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exp in Massachusetts

13 months ago

RDH Ruling...may be NOT anymore in San Diego, California said: Wonder no more... I am among many who are out of job and struggling. I wish that people who are thinking or even working towards getting into hygiene school to GET OUT NOW. There are NO JOBS out there.
I even have lots of experience in the hygiene field but still no jobs, very very depressing, God help me and other who are in the same situation that I'm in.

Maybe, some will listen to you....a lot of blinders and thinking the older RDH's don't know....please. If they want to learn the hard way it's their choice; we who care are just letting them know because we, as well as those just graduating , having been dupped are in the same situation of little to no employment opps.

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itslivib in Biloxi, Mississippi

12 months ago

I am unfortunately in a smaller area and have def felt the impacts of an OVERSATURATED CAREER.
I am a new RDH (licensed this summer) and I have yet to land a job. I have one fill-in opportunity and that is it- after all my school, stress, money, and energy I am on the verge of having to resort back to retail?!
before hygiene school- all the signs pointed to a great field! But I quickly found out otherwise! Don't get me wrong, the work is GREAT, but the field is just impossible. It's nearly impossible to move/travel without having to wait 3-5 years before every move and that's if Im lucky enough to keep my license active in that time.
I've already decided to go back to school, for nursing, since I am 22 and have no kids etc, I can't sit here spinning my wheels waiting for a job to come, unable to move to a better area as I am restricted to my state only for now...
Ive had a huge wake up call since June..
Especially since I've found so many of these forums of RDHs talking just the way you are.
I wish the younger ones would head the warnings!
Even through the end of my school my instructors never warned that it would be THIS hard (nearly impossible) to find a job. Huge Rude awakening. I guess this makes me feel better to comment these things, if I can save just one person from feeling the way I (and you all) feel it would make me feel a little better!
Best of luck to anyone in need, myself included!

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