When was the last time you thanked your dental hygienist? If you never have, consider the duties these incredibly detailed-oriented, educated, patient, and in many cases, strong-stomached, people do for us, our children, our parents, and our grandparents.
Despite her occasional frustrations, Kenz Tullis was quick to add,
Julie Thornton, a Registered Dental Hygienist says, “I have been practicing dental hygiene for 26 years now. I have seen all kinds of patients and to be honest, I love the diversity of all of them! I’ve had those who gag and spit, flinch and jump, those with invasive tongues, and bottom lips that won’t budge no matter what method you try. You just have to smile and do the best job you can in spite of the circumstances. But nothing beats the feeling you get when you help the patient with heavy calculus buildup and bleeding gums, and then see them three months later with healthy mouths, knowing you are the one that helped them achieve that. That’s the reward.”
relationships, and improving patients’
oral health are why hygienists keep
doing what they do
Julie Thornton summed up why she continues doing what she does best, saying, “The relationships I’ve built through the years with my patients can’t be traded.” She then added with a laugh, “The hours and salary help, too.”
Indeed, without hygienists and their care, patience, attention to detail, and remarkable skill, there’s no doubt our country and the world would be in an oral health crisis. They are the ones who educate, clean, followup, and arguably take the most time with patients to discuss prevention or perform preventative procedures. These include fluoride varnish treatments like Ultradent’s Enamelast® fluoride varnish and sealants like Ultradent’s UltraSeal XT® plus sealant and UltraSeal XT® hydro sealant.
Ultradent's Clinical Dental Hygienist, Carol Jent, says, "Fluoride varnish and dental sealants—once considered preventative treatments for kids—have become just as important for adults, and the impetus for these extra measures of care lies with the dental hygienist." Jent adds,
"I believe that if we, as hygienists, can at least educate our high-risk patients on why sealants and varnish are so important for adults, we can make a difference. It's up to us to determine who needs these treatments the most, and who is considered high-risk. These include, but aren't limited to, adults with poor dental hygiene, eating disorders, adults who receive infrequent dental care, or who have alcohol or substance abuse issues."
The power that hygienists, combined with the right treatment protocols, have to make a difference in both the oral and overall health of children and adult patients alike cannot be overstated.
In honor of National Dental Hygiene Month, we say to all hygienists from the bottom of our hearts (and clean mouths), we thank you and we salute you!
Learn more about Ultradent’s hygiene product line