Connecting Dental Health Professionals

The Dental Hygienist and the Continuation of Education

April 29th, 2020 | By Dental Staffing | Blog

dental-hygienist-continued-education

The Dental Hygienist and the Continuation of Education

The dental field is one of the fastest -growing industries in America, and just like with most practices in healthcare, major changes happen every day. To keep up with the constantly evolving demands of the profession and new technologies that surface, it is important for you, as a Dental Professional, to continue your education. Not only will taking up continued education for Dental Hygienists offer you better career opportunities (because non-stop learning is always a plus), it helps you stay on top of the game.

Studying gives you access to the latest in treatment and diagnostic methods, which in turn will benefit
your patients.

1. Continued Education for Dental Hygienists: Is it Required?

While requirements vary from state to state, finishing courses that provide continued education for dental hygienists is mandatory in most states except Wyoming and Colorado. Completing a specific amount of continuing education courses (CE) is a must for a dental license to be renewed. The required hours of continuing education range from 14 hours every couple of years to a max of 75 hours every three years. Check with your state to find out how many hours you need for license renewal.

2. Forms of Learning

Continued education courses come in many forms. The structure depends on the provider that you choose to go with. There are training workshops, conferences, certification courses, web-based lectures, and more. You can avail of these programs through community colleges, dental associations, and universities. Even for the busiest professional, there are many opportunities and ways to grow in the field. Online courses provide a way to study for those with non-flexible work schedules.

Though most courses require a fee, there are plenty of free CE credits that you can get through such things as professional publications or live dental webinars. An excellent source of free credits is this list of live webinars provided by Colgate Professional.

I am deeply passionate about the Dental Profession, and having made lots of mistakes, my experiences provide a great deal of information on what to do, vs what not to do! I recently presented a live webinar on Documentation and Risk Management and I provide in-office workshops on this topic, training the Team how to document to avoid risk and Clinical Systems Management for Increased Productivity and Stress Reduction.

One great way to find out the scope of learning available to you is to attend a major dental conference at least once a year. These gatherings usually yield tons of resources and CE credits to increase your knowledge of information on new technology and treatment procedures from professionals just like yourself.

3. Continued Education for the Dental Professional

Here are some examples of upcoming classes for you to attend, either in person or online. In light of the current pandemic, we listed down programs which are either online or hands-on but scheduled months ahead.

Local Anesthesia for Today’s Hygienist: Certification Course

A certification by an ADA CERP Recognized Provider, this course by the University of Florida Health will run from September 25-27, 2020. Accreditation for the hands-on course is 60 contact hours. All aspects of local anesthesia will be explored in this class, ranging from pharmacology to anatomy, as well as mechanics for providing competent pain and anxiety management.

Spring Mandatory & Core Training for the Entire Dental Team, Fall Mandatory & Core Training for the Entire Dental Team-Live Session

Offered by the University of Minnesota, this live session on May 8, 2020 tackles three essential topics for 6 hours of course credits. The three core subjects are: management of medical emergencies, infection control, and workplace ethics.

Nitrous Oxide for Dental Hygienists (Administering) and Dental Assistants (Monitoring)
The University of Cincinnati Blue Ash College with the approval of the Ohio State Dental Board offers eight hours of credit for the program.

The proper administration of nitrous oxide (monitoring for dental assistants) will be discussed on December 5, 2020.

 

ADA CE Online Courses

The American Dental Association offers a ton of online continuing education courses and recorded webinars for credits.

Some of the popular courses available for continued education for dental hygienists include ADA Infection Control and OSHA 2016, Pharmacology of Analgesics, and the latest, which is COVID-19 Infection Control Protocols & Procedures (a free recorded webinar).

 

~

“Tell me and I forget, teach me and I may remember, involve me and I learn.”

– Benjamin Franklin

How To Celebrate Belated National Dental Hygienist Week For Your Staff

April 22nd, 2020 | By Dental Staffing | Blog

national-dental-hygiene-week

National Dental Hygiene Week…Belated!

It’s April, and an important month for dental offices here in the U.S. From April 7-14, we celebrate National Dental Hygienist Week to remind us all how we couldn’t be as effective a team without them. It’s the month where we conduct a week-long celebration in honor of the professionals for their valuable contribution to our dental practices. This year is a little bit different for all of us due to the COVID-19 closures throughout the United States. We didn’t have the chance to throw the usual Dental Hygienist appreciation lunches and events.

Many of us are struggling through office closures, creating loss of revenue, and staff. Perhaps now, more than ever, is a great time to let our Dental Hygienists know how much they are appreciated. During regular business, our Dental Hygienists perform essential functions in the office, from providing patient education, creating dental health awareness in the community, periodontal treatment and radiographs. Dental Hygienists are our partners in promoting dental well-being and because we appreciate the hard work they do, let’s not forget to show how much we value them.

Below are some ways you can celebrate National Dental Hygienist Week all month long!

Celebrate National Dental Hygienist Week With Your Staff:

1. Make It Visible

Make your appreciation as visible as possible. If your clinic is closed, you can set up a banner outside your office celebrating your Hygienists, showing them how much you appreciate them especially in this time of uncertainty. You can send them personalized emails or cards, making it as personal as possible. These are the team members who invest in your Dental Office and your patients as much as you do.

2. Make It Personal

Take the time to create a special thank you on social media for everyone to see, Team members and patients as well. You can set up an individual phone meeting with each Hygienist, to express your gratitude. Or you can send a special email to each of them, thanking them for the work they do. It doesn’t have to be a long email, just a short but heartfelt note from you will be much appreciated.

A special communication from their boss not only shows that you care about your staff individually, but it can provide some much-needed encouragement in a time of difficulty for so many.

3. Make It A Celebration

In former times, a great way of celebrating National Dental Hygienist Week was to take everyone in the dental team out for lunch. It’s a great way for everyone to bond together and at the same time show your Dental Hygienists how grateful you are for their work. During current social distancing measures, this isn’t possible, but you can still make it a party!

Schedule a zoom meeting, and encourage your Team to find some fun games you can all play over the computer. Buy some balloons to liven up your background! Keep the mood celebratory for boosting morale, and give your Team a fun event to look forward to during social isolation.

4. Make It Special

While a heartfelt thank-you is an excellent idea, it’s always better if you can back it up with a small token or gift. Gift cards are always welcome, especially if it’s for a favorite store or restaurant! Include it in the card you send.

During this season of social distancing, many florists are offering non-contact deliveries. Try ordering a wrapped bouquet or potted plant for your Dental Hygiene staff, and having it delivered to their door! Nothing boosts the spirits like a fragrant and lush floral arrangement to brighten the homes that we are all spending so much time in.

5. Give Out Bonuses

These are difficult times for all of us. Your business might even be struggling to make ends meet right now. But if your business is secure, and you have a bit of a cushion to fall back on, consider giving out small bonuses to your Dental Hygiene staff.

It can be difficult and scary to be out of work in such an unsure time. A bonus not only tells your staff that you appreciate them, but that you’re looking forward to working with them again in the future.

Celebrate National Dental Hygienist Week with Your Community

1. Host A Giveaway

As we are social distancing, and only dental emergencies are qualifying for treatment right now, it puts a lot of distance between us and our patients. Gather up a few Dental Hygiene themed toys and trinkets: print out stickers or bookmarks for National Dental Hygienist Week, include some healthy snacks and a dental themed mug. Make a cute basket, and host a giveaway on social media!

Hosting a giveaway for National Dental Hygienist Week not only boosts your engagement on social media (which is where most of our patients are hanging out these days!), it can also be a fun way to show your Hygienists that you’re still thinking of them! Including helpful diagrams and educational pamphlets on proper oral hygiene can also make this an educational moment for your social media audience! It’s a win-win.

2. Post Dental Hygiene Awareness Posts

Most of our patients are spending a lot more time in front of a screen lately. It’s a good idea to meet them where they are! Announce that your Dental Office is celebrating National Dental Hygienist Week all month long! Share photos of your Dental Hygiene staff. Write a short post about how much you appreciate them, and ask their patients to post their love and appreciation for them in the comments!

This is a great opportunity to not only show your Team you care, but they can feel the love from some of their favorite patients, too! Plus, posts that offer an interactive call to action will boost your businesses social media presence and engagement! Another win-win.

3. Add A Blurb to Your Newsletter

When emailing your patients, add a blurb about the special season you’re celebrating. It helps if you can make everyone aware of it, so they can join in with you. You can add a photo and a quick highlight on the value of each Dental Hygienist in your office. Tell your audience why you love your staff, and how much you appreciate their hard work. People who feel valued are happier, more loyal, and perform better in their jobs.

Even though National Dental Hygienist Week is technically over, we still have lots of time to show the Dental Hygienists that we care!

Are you a Dental Hygienist that has recently been laid off due to Covid-19 closures? Do you wish you had a fulfilling job, where your boss valued you as a Dental Hygienist? We’ve got you covered! We have job listings from all over the United States, just waiting for you to apply! Upload your resume and search job posts TODAY.

~

“You can’t always get what you want.
But if you try some time, you’ll find,
you get what you need.”

– Rolling Stones

The Dental Hygiene Job: An Exciting and Rewarding Career

July 2nd, 2018 | By Dr. Marynak | Blog, Dental Jobs

Dental Hygiene JobWe as Dental Professionals know how important oral health is to our overall health. Unfortunately, the greater percentage of medical professionals don’t recognize the treatment of dental disease as having anything to do with the remainder of the human body. As the need for dental providers increases, dentistry has expanded the function of the Dental Hygienist’s job to keep up with the demand.

When dentistry does become more recognized as an arm of medicine (and I believe it will, just not in my time), there will undoubtedly be an increased need for Dental Hygienists to fill Dental Hygiene jobs. Further, as the need to fill Dental Hygiene jobs increases, Dental Hygienists will need to expand their skills to appropriately fill those jobs.

In 1974 when I graduated from Dental Hygiene, I had been trained to clean teeth. Period. And knowing what I know today, I wasn’t very good at it. It was a repetitive, thankless job. Today, the job of Dental Hygiene is vastly expanding to include the administration of anesthesia, writing prescriptions, disease assessment, filling teeth prepped by the Doctor and (depending on the state in which you practice) even restoring teeth including the preparation and placing of filling material.

I worked in a private practice where the four Dental Hygienists had the job of anesthetizing all the patients for two dentists. This allowed each of us to see two extra patients a day, adding significant dollars to our bottom line. Imagine the possibilities if the job of the Dental Hygienist was to come in and fill a prepped tooth, allowing the dentist to move on to their next patient, who was already anesthetized.

Or, if an emergency presented and the dentist could diagnose the problem and the Dental Hygienist’s job was to take over, administer a long-acting anesthesia and write the appropriate prescription to treat infection and pain. Imagine the number of patients that could be treated in a practice offering a job to a Dental Hygienist trained to do these skills.

I have worked in a military facility, preparing soldiers for deployment. On the days we treated disease, the dentists were to prep the teeth and the expanded function dental assistant filled the teeth. The number of soldiers we could treat in a day was astounding. Although this was the military facility utilizing assistants, it was very successful in a setting that needed to provide care for volumes of patients.

If you’re interested in acquiring a job as a Dental Hygienist, you’ll need to be prepared for some very intense training. Once you complete your studies and pass your boards, you’ll need to get out there and gain some experience. Although administration of anesthesia is now a skill trained in all Dental Hygiene schools, expanded skills such as prescription writing, disease assessment and simple fillings requires study beyond the usual curriculum of the Dental Hygienist.

In world where there is so much dental disease in need of treatment, today’s Dental Hygiene job is a rewarding and exciting career than can add exponential value to any dental setting. And imagine a time when dentistry and medicine work together…even under one roof. Where the Dental Hygiene job is on the same level in dentistry as the job of the nurse practitioner is in medicine. I believe it’s just a matter of time.

“The future depends on what you do today.”
-Mahatma Gandhi

 

The 4 Characteristics That Define The Excellent Dental Hygienist

March 29th, 2017 | By Dr. Marynak | Blog

By Dr. Deborah Marynak

I’m so glad you enjoyed the ‘Four Characteristics of an Awesome Dental Assistant’. I know you work hard and to say you’re our right arm is an understatement. I think it only fair to talk about your co-worker, the Dental Hygienist. I’m certain that to most people, the work they do appears easy; can I just say this is a long way from true.

When I received my license to practice Dental Hygiene back in 1976, I had one role: cleaning teeth. Today there are a number of various duties practiced by Dental Hygienists. As the demand for Dental providers has grown, it has become necessary to expand their role much the same way the Nurse Practitioner and Physician’s Assistant has done in medicine. So, aside from their various levels of participation in the Dental Office, here are my thoughts on ~

The Four Characteristics That Define the Excellent Dental Hygienist

1. Patient Education

The Dental Hygienist who can consistently provide education to their patients on a level they can use and understand would receive my vote for excellence. As a former Dental Hygienist, I can tell you that giving patient education day after day, and week after week is tedious, monotonous work. If an individual is not up for this redundant type of responsibility…and it is their responsibility…I don’t believe a level of excellence can be reached.

This means they ask the patient to demonstrate their use of a toothbrush and/or dental floss and modify where necessary. They do not verbally describe brushing or show the patient what they do. They watch the patient and modify their technique to assist them in improving their dental health.

I’m not sure why, but when I temp for various offices, I often hear the Hygienist talk about “massaging the gums”. I roll my eyes as I walk past their operatory asking myself “where are they getting this information?” It doesn’t have anything to do with massaging gums; it’s removal of bacteria…period. For much of the population: control the bacteria and you’ll control disease. It’s not brushing in circles; if you tell them that they’ll make circles as big as a quarter. It’s not anaerobic bacteria, its germs. It’s not periodontal disease, its gum disease. It’s not “you need to floss”; tell them why. If they won’t floss, recommend a Waterpik.

2. Continuous Improvement of Skills and Knowledge

The Dental Hygienist who works to consistently improve their clinical skills and increase their knowledge of Dental disease would receive my vote for excellence. I certainly did not graduate from Dental Hygiene School knowing how to effectively root plane or sharpen my instruments. Information regarding research in periodontology advances all the time. The excellent Hygienist continues to improve skills and increase their knowledge of Dental disease.

As the need for Dental Healthcare providers increases, the Dental Hygienists now have the opportunity to further educate themselves in several expanded functions including administration of anesthesia, prescription writing, and placing fillings.

3. Personable, Yet Professional

The Dental Hygienist who knows what she can, and more importantly, cannot discuss with the patient, would receive my vote of excellence. The focus of the appointment is on the patient and their dental needs; there is no discussion of the Hygienist’s personal problems.

4. A Team Player

The Dental Hygienist who is not above filling their own schedule, turning a room, helping in sterilization or filing/pulling charts has my vote for excellence. The Hygienist who can sit in the break room and read a magazine while everyone else is Mach ten with their hair on fire, is the antithesis of Team player. I once heard a Hygienist who was asked if he’d help the team catch up in sterilization. He responded with “I didn’t go to Dental Hygiene school to work in sterilization.” He’s no longer with the company!

I often hear Dental Assistants say they want to go into Dental Hygiene. The most prevalent reason I hear has to do with an increase in income. I’m all for ambition, but my response is always this: “First, don’t be fooled; cleaning teeth all day is hard, repetitive work. Then there’s the responsibility of continuously educating the patient. It can be redundant, and grueling. In knowing that, if you’re up for it, I commend you.

“Always bear in mind that your own resolution to succeed is more important than any other,”
-Abraham Lincoln

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