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Comments (15)

future_rdh in West L.A., California

49 months ago

I see a lot of negativity in these forums. A lot of people are trying to convince everyone else not to get into the dental hygiene field due to oversaturation. If you are interested in something, such as hygiene, and feel this is your passion, your choice, your future career... then don't allow an invisible person on the internet to discourage you. Yes, there are a lot of dental hygiene schools graduating students left and right, but it is up to you to find your own job and to make sure you are the one who deserves the job.

If you truly believe you can make a difference, then work towards that. No one should be allowed to put your career choices down and try to influence you to choose a different profession. The market is down everywhere... it's called a recession.

“The people who are lifting the world onward and upward are those who encourage more than they criticize.” – Elizabeth Harrison.

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Cathy RDH in King George, Virginia

49 months ago

I agree. A passion to help people and make a difference in people's lives and professional excellence is what should drive a dental hygienist. Strive to be in the top 10%-20% of all practicing hygienists by taking lots of continuing education and communicating with other dental professionals to continually improve your skills and you will probably not have a problem with employment. Health care jobs should never be about the money in my opinion. Hygiene programs always need top candidates.

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RDHmom in Medicine Hat, Alberta

49 months ago

Great post. I think people here are afraid that all the new grads will take their jobs. I hope people focus more on training themselves to become better hygienists and LESS on what other people are doing. A dose of healthy competition doesn't hurt to weed out those who are only in this for the $$$$

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future_rdh in West L.A., California

49 months ago

I completely agree ladies.

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DH in Olds, Alberta

49 months ago

I am going to agree to a point; passion and excellent does help to make a good hygienist but background knowledge is also very important.
Here in Canada we have had a ton of private colleges open up that require NO university level prerequisites just lots of $$ for tuition. "Top candidates" they are not. The top candidates are the ones with the smarts to compete for a spot in a public/university level course.
The good thing is that these lesser educated and IMO poorly skilled hygienists are getting a reputation. And not a good one!
The fear that RDHmom is expressing only seems to be happening in crappy offices where the DDS doesn't respect hygiene anyway so has no problem replacing a higher paid senior hygienist with a new grad who will work for whatever they can get. I personally don't consider that "healthy competition" but whatever.

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future_rdh in West L.A., California

49 months ago

DH in Olds, Alberta said: I am going to agree to a point; passion and excellent does help to make a good hygienist but background knowledge is also very important.
Here in Canada we have had a ton of private colleges open up that require NO university level prerequisites just lots of $$ for tuition. "Top candidates" they are not. The top candidates are the ones with the smarts to compete for a spot in a public/university level course.
The good thing is that these lesser educated and IMO poorly skilled hygienists are getting a reputation. And not a good one!
The fear that RDHmom is expressing only seems to be happening in crappy offices where the DDS doesn't respect hygiene anyway so has no problem replacing a higher paid senior hygienist with a new grad who will work for whatever they can get. I personally don't consider that "healthy competition" but whatever.

Here is California, you're required to have an associate's or a bachelor's degree in order to apply for licensure. Here, we have to have the pre-req's, we have to pass our classes, we have to have high test scores. Even though there are private schools that request a lot of money for tuition, we still have to fullfil pre-req's. USC, University of the Pacific, West Coast University, and Loma Linda University are the four bachelor degree programs in California, and they are all private schools.

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flossboss1@msn.com in Oceanside, California

49 months ago

to future_rdh in West L.A., California....

I've been a hygienist for 42 years and still love what I do. Hygiene has
been a great career for me. It has provided well for me and my family.
I am at the end of my career and have no worries about being replaced.
I am still working 5 days a week and will not retire for 3 more years.
I am worried about the future of dental hygiene as well as medicine in general. Everything is all about the money...how much production and how many products can be sold. Dentistry has changed greatly, mostly for the good but this part is not good at all. I work in a paperless office, all digital and make my own appointments. I have a great boss but it took me a long time to find him. If I were a young person today,
I would defintely look into other service oriented careers in the health industry other than dentistry. There are other ways to help people without subjecting yourself to what I've seen happen in dentistry today. The great days of dental hygiene are just about over.

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30 year vet in Edmonton, Alberta

49 months ago

flossboss1@msn.com in Oceanside, California said: to future_rdh in West L.A., California....

I've been a hygienist for 42 years and still love what I do. Hygiene has
been a great career for me. It has provided well for me and my family.
I am at the end of my career and have no worries about being replaced.
I am still working 5 days a week and will not retire for 3 more years.
I am worried about the future of dental hygiene as well as medicine in general. Everything is all about the money...how much production and how many products can be sold. Dentistry has changed greatly, mostly for the good but this part is not good at all. I work in a paperless office, all digital and make my own appointments. I have a great boss but it took me a long time to find him. If I were a young person today,
I would defintely look into other service oriented careers in the health industry other than dentistry. There are other ways to help people without subjecting yourself to what I've seen happen in dentistry today. The great days of dental hygiene are just about over.

Hey Flossboss,

Gee, we never did hook up in S D !! How are you?

I agree with absolutely everything you've said. Check into other fields...DH is not what it used to be!

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iluvteeth in Manteca, California

48 months ago

30 year vet in Edmonton, Alberta said: Hey Flossboss,

Gee, we never did hook up in S D !! How are you?

I agree with absolutely everything you've said. Check into other fields...DH is not what it used to be!

I appreciate the words of flossboss and 30 yr vet as I respect all RDH that have such vast experience under their belt.
But for us RDH's that retirement is not anytime soon (in my 20's), what would you reccomend, any words of advice?
I do struggle with some of the demands of my job, they want me to do new patient appts in 1 hr, that includes med hx, 4x2, full mouth perio chart, prophy, pt education and exam with Dr. I personally do not agree with this because I think a new patients first appt should not be rushed and it puts me in a position to have MAYBE 15-20 min to scale, polish and floss and I believe EVERY patient deserves at least 30 minutes of just cleaning time, even when there "light". So anywho sometimes I pull it off, sometimes I ask to schedule a 2nd appt for their cleaning, and I have caught the scheduler giving me attitude bcuz of it.

We dont really have a clear cut perio program set up in our office, can I also ask from the 2 of you what your perio program is like? What types of pts do you recc. SC/RP for, is there any difference in your PMT vs your prophy recall appts?

I am at the point in my career (1.5 yrs in) where Im trying to establish what I believe in and what I will/wont accept. When you first graduate your just so depserate to get a job your not worried about the specifics.

Thanks for any replies

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FlossBoss in Oceanside, California

48 months ago

In my office, I finally got my employer to see all new patients first when I reminded him that it was against the law for auxillaries to do anything to a new patient who hadn't seen the dentist yet. He does the first perio probing and advises rp/stc or not. One time, I redid the perio probing and had him come back in to discuss the severe bone loss and deeper pocketing that I found and tactfully suggested referral to a periodontist and he complied and thanked me later.
I have found that if I follow my instincts to do what is best for the patient, it is usually the right thing to do. After doing hygiene for a few years, you will develop a feel for what you can reasonably accomplish in an hour for a particular patient and what you can't. Homecare compliance will be the one factor that is out of your control and you will develop a feel for which patients will go home and do what you have suggested and which ones won't.
I would choose educating with an intraoral camera about disease and motivating a patient to improve homecare over cleaning every last bit of calculus off their teeth.
Don't be afraid to schedule a patient back if you have not been able to remove all the calculus. If presented to the patient with non-judgemental words that they can understand, they will appreciate it. No one can expect everything to be removed in one visit when they haven't been to a dentist in years. The overriding factor is whether or not they have periodontal disease and this requires defintive diagnosing with probing and visual and physical examination of tissue condition. My employer lets me determine which and how many quadrant hours are necessary to help the patient regain health. Sometimes (but not often) after 4 quadrants are completed, the patient will still need to be referred. Do not be afraid to bring this up as most dentists rely on the hygienist to inform them of pocket depth, furcations and bone loss progression.

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FlossBoss in Oceanside, California

48 months ago

iluvteeth in Manteca, California said:
We dont really have a clear cut perio program set up in our office, can I also ask from the 2 of you what your perio program is like? What types of pts do you recc. SC/RP for, is there any difference in your PMT vs your prophy recall appts?

Use what you have learned in your dental hygiene classes. 1-3 mm without bleeding is healthy. 4-5 mm means that some or all quads will need rp/stc. Furcations, mobility and/or pockets 6 plus should mean referral. A patient's age should be taken into consideration as well. I have cleaned up quite a few patients with 4 quads of RP and motivated them to the point where no referral was needed but about half of my adults patients come in more frequently than every 6 months. Once a perio patient, always a perio patient and they will need PMT for the rest of their lives. I probe perio patients EVERY time and document tissue condition and homecare compliance also. I use the camera on them and they get to view the photos. Cavitron followed by hand scaling with Arestin and/or other antimicrobial placement. It is defintely a different type of visit than "just a prophy" and the patient should know this.
If your employer doesn't have a protocol, then you should request a meeting with him to discuss it and make sure that you both are on the same page about all this. You need to know how he wants you to move a 6 month "prophy" patient to perio patient status without stepping on any toes. Mainly his because he has not been diagnosing and treating periodontal disease in his practice. As well as protecting him legally, you can show him how this can be productive for his practice. Be respectful and careful in how you say it and speak to him like the professional that you are. If he is smart, he will listen to you and understand what you are tactfully telling him. You will be doing him and his patients a huge favor. Good luck

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FLOSSBABE in Raleigh, North Carolina

32 months ago

FlossBoss in Oceanside, California said: In my office, I finally got my employer to see all new patients first when I reminded him that it was against the law for auxillaries to do anything to a new patient who hadn't seen the dentist yet.[quote]

Being a hygienist for over 20 years and having worked in many offices, I had to reply to this. Only about 3 dentists over my career scheduled new patients with THEM. Most of the time the pt. didn't get a cleaning that day & were not happy about it even if all they needed was a simple prophy. When told they had to reschedule for their cleaning, they never came back. If hygienists are to be utilized for all of their skills, they should see new patients first, take x-rays & probe, and then inform the dentist of the needed treatment. At that time the dentist should come in, meet the pt., view x-rays for possible decay & agree with the perio findings of his/her RDH and proceed as necessary, which gives the RDH credibility. Enough time should be scheduled for a new patient so that they can get their cleaning done the same day if it's a basic prophy. This is about 90 min. in my experience & the pt. is only rescheduled for either fillings or rootplaning. If RDH's aren't able to administer ALL of their skills & expertise to new patients, they become much less valued in an office and take away time from the DDS and what is on his/her schedule for overall production. I live in NC so perhaps the laws in CA are different when it comes to this, I don't know. But here, the majority of the offices have the RDH see new pts. & the DDS's trust them to make a proper perio diagnosis. Not being negative, just so you know. :-)

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Cerritos College Grad in Placentia, California

32 months ago

flossboss1@msn.com in Oceanside, California said: to future_rdh in West L.A., California....

I've been a hygienist for 42 years and still love what I do. Hygiene has
been a great career for me. It has provided well for me and my family.
I am at the end of my career and have no worries about being replaced.
I am still working 5 days a week and will not retire for 3 more years.

What a wonderful thing to share in this forum!

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FlossBoss in Oceanside, California

32 months ago

Yes, it is the law in California that the dentist must do a "preliminary exam" on all patients new to the practice before an auxillary can actually do anything like x-rays or cleanings. They passed the law when Colorado allowed dental hygienists to open up their own practices. Guess they were scared. Now, the dentist meets and greets the NP and then we can do what we do and then he comes back in for the "official" exam. It's all done on the same day because we realize that people do not like to return for their cleaning appointment and besides, my dentist realizes that I can take x-rays, do the probing, initial cleaning and educate the patient faster and better than he can. By the time he comes in, the patient is ready to schedule necessary treatment!

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FLOSSBABE in Raleigh, North Carolina

32 months ago

FlossBoss in Oceanside, California said: Yes, it is the law in California that the dentist must do a "preliminary exam" on all patients new to the practice before an auxillary can actually do anything like x-rays or cleanings. They passed the law when Colorado allowed dental hygienists to open up their own practices. Guess they were scared. Now, the dentist meets and greets the NP and then we can do what we do and then he comes back in for the "official" exam. It's all done on the same day because we realize that people do not like to return for their cleaning appointment and besides, my dentist realizes that I can take x-rays, do the probing, initial cleaning and educate the patient faster and better than he can. By the time he comes in, the patient is ready to schedule necessary treatment!

I was born & raised in Northern CA but obtained my RDH license in NC. I'd never move back there to attempt to take & pass their Hygiene exam due to all of the nightmares I've heard concerning this. It's all politics. The Board there will fail you even if you passed, keep the money you spent on trying to pass the exam, and try to get you to go thru all of the hassle & expense AGAIN to retake the exam. I saw it happen to a couple of RDH friends of mine,both of who graduated in the top of our class. There are too many hygienists now for them to worry about a chosen few. In NC, most RDH's see new patients first. The dentists want us to see new patients, then we tell them what kind of "cleaning" the pt. needs before the formal exam is done. We still meet some resistance when we discover pockets & perio disease & tell the pt. they need either rootplaning or a referral to a periodontist. They'll always ask why their last DDS never told them this & accuse us of trying to charge them for things not needed. And also tell us they'd had NEVER been probed before! This is the prior RDH's fault as well as the DDS she/he was employed by. Inexcusable!

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