• Spring Hatfield, RDH

It's National Dental Hygiene Month!!

October isn’t just for ghosts, ghouls, hayrides, pumpkins, sweaters and sweet treats. October is NATIONAL DENTAL HYGIENE MONTH!! If you are a dental hygienist I hope you’re celebrating your profession. One of the only healthcare professions that focuses on preventing disease and not just treating it. We are preventive care specialists, and we can change lives. I know many hygienists are frustrated with their career, due to the lack of respect and recognition. However, focus on that one patient that you influenced, you know the one. If you can’t think of one right off the top of your head, sit back and really think about it, I’ll wait……I promise there is a patient out there that you single handedly changed the course of their life. They may not be fully aware of it, but you know you made an impact. The patient with a medical history as long as my arm that needed perio therapy, you educated them on the oral-systemic link. They went through treatment and now religiously come every three months for their perio maintenance appointments. You did that! The patient that was a class IV on the Mallampti scale, and you discussed sleep apnea and the need for a sleep study. You may have been the first person to have that conversation with that patient, and the benefits of getting treatment for sleep apnea, you just reduced that patients’ risk of dementia, Alzheimer’s disease, high blood pressure, heart attack and metabolic syndromes. The kid that was scared to death upon arrival that left excited for their next visit, that was you. For the adult patient with rampant caries, you took the time to educate them on proper nutrition, side effects of medication and recommended a fluoride treatment. You may have just saved them tons of money, treatment and discomfort. These are the things that hygienists need to be celebrating.

I know this is not the norm, most days we have patients that think we are here “just to clean their teeth”. I myself had a patient this week that was classified high risk for caries according to CAMBRA, I recommended a fluoride treatment, the patient told me, and I quote “I am not a candidate for cavities”, after educating her on the decay process and benefits of fluoride treatments, she still declined. However, I walked her to the front desk confident I had educated her, and she made an informed decision. My standard of care will not be altered by patients that think I’m just here to clean their teeth. Lets all focus on the great outcomes, not the small defeats.

As we are celebrating our successes lets also celebrate each other! More times than not, I see hygienists being nasty and bullying others in Facebook groups, this is disappointing. This month I challenge you to inspire and encourage each other. We have days that our patients barely tolerate us (everyone HATES going to the dentist), EVERYDAY we should celebrate each other. This post is your reminder that you ROCK!!

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