12 AUGUST 2017 |
B Y KYLE ISAACS, RDHEP, BHS
about not staying in clinical prac-
tices that want us to see patients
every 30 minutes, both for our patients’ well-being and for our
well-being. We need to make a
stand. We can help advance the
dental hygiene profession, but we
have a lot of work to do to make
that a reality.
We use evidence-based science
to make decisions and deliver the
best care possible for our patients.
So much has changed on how we
view oral disease, the systemic relationship, and all of the technology
available for diagnostic purposes.
We now have devices for early de-
so much more than scaling and
polishing. We are educated, profes-
sional health-care providers who
are prevention specialists. We are
critical thinkers and can make ed-
ucated decisions about how to best
treat our patients. We know more
about nutrition than many in the
medical field, and we look at the
whole person—not just the mouth.
Unfortunately, dental hygienists
are often viewed as merely the per-
son who “cleans teeth.” Little do
many people in the general public
realize how hard we studied to earn
our dental hygiene degree, and all
that we do, can do, as well as the
depth of our knowledge. Many of
my peers are frustrated—frustrated
with time constraints, poor work-
ing conditions, and the lack of re-
spect in and out of the profession.
If we are to gain respect and be
allowed to work at the top of our
scope of practice, we need to work
hard to change these perceptions.
We need to make hard decisions
tection of oral abnormalities and
caries, as well as salivary diagnos-
tics that can help us determine the
best treatment modalities for our
patients. Many states have passed
legislation to allow us to work in
alternative sites without a dentist,
to administer local anesthesia and
nitrous oxide, and, in some states,
perform restorative treatments.
Two-year programs consist of
84 credits. Most, if not all, require
about 40 credit hours of prerequisite coursework to even be considered as an applicant.
1 By the time
a dental hygienist graduates from
a community college, they have
The older definitions of dental hygiene
persist, limiting the ability to change
for a name