THE COLUMNISTS in RDH have more
frequent deadlines than any other writers associated with
the magazine. So we have to stay in touch. It’s not on a
daily basis, but at least two to three times a month. As I
write this, Kim Miller (Haute Hygienist, page 94) was excited about the expected delivery of her second grandchild.
Anne Guignon (Comfort Zone, page 54) was frustrated
with purchasing WiFi on a flight
to Fresno. She was trying to meet
a deadline for RDH from midair.
To add to the misery, one of her
bags did not make it to her destination. I interrupted Nancy Burkhart’s (Oral Exam, page 72) vacation in Hawaii with a question
for her. Boy, I felt about two inch-es tall after doing that. If there’s
anything worth boasting about
in regard to a Boston professional sports franchise, I’ll likely hear
about it from Ann-Marie DePalma (From the Podium, page 50).
Such is a day in the life — always have to talk with a columnist about this and that.
Lynne Slim (Perio Therapy, page 88) entertained me the
other day with a screen shot of a Facebook conversation in
which she was a participant (so were Cathy Seckman, Maria Perno Goldie, Shirley Gutkowski, and Patti DiGangi, who
also write for RDH).
The topic of the Facebook conversation is whether you
say preventive (príventiv) or preventative (pr ´vent tiv).
As you can see, the pronunciation is very similar. As an
editor, what you write is another matter. Write preventive,
please, for RDH. If you don’t, I’m going to pull out the red
pen. Lynne’s opinion on the subject, by the way, was, “
Preventative harks back to the 1600s,” adding later in another
post that the “extra syllable has not been inserted by sloppy
English speakers.” (It was the plot of folks who spoke Latin
back in the day.)
I liked Seckman’s opinion: “[Preventative] seems preten-
tious to me.”
If you are thinking right about now that I need to get a
life, that’s OK. The thought crossed my mind too.
Are hygienists too pretentious about preventive dentistry in general?
Dianne Watterson (Staff Rx, page 78) chatted with me
about another hygienist who left the profession after becom-
ing disillusioned with doctors’ cavalier approach to hygiene
care, “watching” the progression of oral disease instead of
doing anything about it.
Dianne noted, “The idealism that is taught in hygiene
school contrasts sharply with the real world, unfortunately.
When hygienists are commanded by dentists to compro-
mise their ideals, they either have to acquiesce or leave the
Earlier this year, the American Dental Education Asso-
ciation presented a report filled with statistics about the
2013 graduating class of dental students. The ADEA mainly
wanted to make it clear that today’s new dentists remain
“self-directed people who want to have a real impact on the
health of their patients.” Obviously, some hygienists may dis-
agree with the last part, especially when periodontal health
is being discussed or ignored during the doctor’s exam.
The ADEA report, though, was devoted to details about
the debt incurred both in college and dental school. It has
increased by 10% over what it was in 2012. The average debt
is $215,000. That’s a lot of money, and a majority of new dentists said the debt “moderately” (22%), “very much” (22%),
or “completely” (10%) concerned them. In addition, 57% of
the males among the 2013 senior dental students intended
to enter private practice after graduation; 48% of the female
new dentists had similar aspirations; so, in the first few
months after graduation, these new doctors likely incurred
Yes, new dentists often do their own hygiene as a way to
save expenses at the beginning. Eventually, though, the addition of a hygiene staff is necessary to expand a practice’s
growth. Doctors' perceptions toward dental hygiene may
be shaped by their own homegrown versions of a dental hygiene appointment back when they were rookies.
The dental hygiene profession is correct, though, in trying to be unwavering with its commitment to health care.
Preventive care can be a part of the real world. A cottage
industry of consultants has surfaced in recent years, marrying the business side of dentists with idealistic hygienists.
These consultants often prove that a dual commitment to
preventive care can be achieved. It can be done.
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