August 2, 2013
You remember finding out about the Tulsa oral surgeon who was responsible for putting his patients at risk for contracting HIV and hepatitis B and C, but do you remember exactly how the dental assistants were involved? Some of our most popular articles from the first half of 2013 concern the Tulsa dental practice, but others deal with sticky situations that could happen to any dental assistant. From dealing with favoritism in the office to how to talk about inappropriate attire, we have the answers you were looking for. Check out the top 15 articles for dental assistants from the first half of 2013.15 – OKLAHOMA BILL TO REQUIRE PERMITS FOR DENTAL ASSISTANTS
In the aftermath of the Tulsa oral surgeon investigation in which dental assistants were performing IV sedation and poor infection control procedures put over 7,000 patients at risk for contracting HIV, a bill was proposed in Oklahoma that would require all dental assistants to have permits. Editor Kevin Henry asked both the ADHA and the DANB for their thoughts on the matter.14 – THURSDAY TROUBLESHOOTER: THONG UNDERWEAR CAN BE SEEN THROUGH EMPLOYEE UNIFORMS
Well, this is awkward. A dental professional asks the experts how to go about correcting the situation of younger employees wearing thongs under work pants, which – even though they’re not white – are see-through.13 – THURSDAY TROUBLESHOOTER: I FEEL THREATENED BY THE SECOND DENTAL ASSISTANT
What do you do when your boss plays favorites with the new assistant? This dental assistant feels out of the loop with the new employee, who “tattles” to certain people in the office behind her back. She’s talked with both the dentist and assistant, but her views aren’t being heard. Ever been in this situation?12 – CONFRONTING AND OVERCOMING SOME OF THE CHALLENGES FACED BY FEMALE DENTAL TEAM MEMBERS DAILY
Dr. Patricia O’Gorman just published The Resilient Woman: Mastering the 7 Steps to Personal Power, which covers how women can use their skills to “grow and counter the pervasive [social] forces known as ‘girly thoughts.’” Editor Kevin Henry sat down with her to talk about this empowering book.11 – THURSDAY TROUBLESHOOTER: I THOUGHT THE DENTIST WAS WRONG!
What do you do when the associate doctor misreads and X-ray and gives the patient the wrong advice? You don’t want to be considered “uppity,” (although maybe you should read number 12 above), but you can’t let a patient treat a problem that isn’t there an ignore one that is. Find out what the experts said about this sticky situation.10 – THURSDAY TROUBLESHOOTER: THE DENTAL OFFICE MANAGER PLAYS FAVORITES
What do you do when the office manager invites three out of her eight coworkers out regularly and gives her friends in the office special treatment? We have answers from Linda Miles, Kay Valentine, and Dianne Glasscoe Watterson.9 – THURSDAY TROUBLESHOOTER: PSYCHO COWORKER
Ever had that coworker who plays mind games with you? What about having patients ask you where you went on vacation, when you didn’t go on vacation? This dental assistant has a real problem with her office manager. See what Lois Banta and Judy Kay Mausolf say about this one.8 – THURSDAY TROUBLESHOOTER: PIERCINGS AND TATTOOS ON DENTAL OFFICE EMPLOYEES
This dental assistant instructor is uncomfortable with facial piercings – often surgically placed – and tattoos are becoming more prevalent on her students. Should she advise that they display a more professional appearance, or are times just changing? Can you get a job with a facial piercing?7 – STATE-BY-STATE SALARY NUMBERS FOR DENTAL ASSISTANTS
Let’s talk a break from the Q&A now and get into the numbers. We have the stats from the most recent dental assistant salary survey. Less than 20% of dental hygienists make at least $22 an hour – where do you fall? Find out how your salary compares to other dental assistants in your state.6 – DENTAL ASSISTANTS, THERE IS A STORM ON THE HORIZON. IT’S ABOUT TIME.
In response to the media attention on dental assistants and their role in the dental office after the Tulsa fiasco, editor Kevin Henry confesses that he wishes the requirements and responsibilities on dental assistants were the same from Washington state to Florida, and everywhere in between. “It’s time that state dental associations around the nation accept that dental assistants are an extremely valuable part of the team,” Henry asserts.5 – DENTAL ECONOMICS’ INFECTION CONTROL COLUMNIST: REASSURE PATIENTS ABOUT THE SAFETY OF DENTAL PROCEDURES AFTER TULSA INCIDENT
When the news covers the failures of an entire dental team to protect its patients from transmittable disease, your patients will start wondering about their own safety, and hopefully, they’ll start asking questions. Here’s how to talk to a concerned patient, from an expert.4 – WHAT MAKES AN EXCELLENT DENTAL ASSISTANT?
More Q&A, but this time, it’s from Dr. Gordon Christensen. In this video, he lists the most important characteristics of a dental assistant. An interesting and thoughtful reader comment follows.3 – LESSON LEARNED: HOW THE DENTAL ASSISTANTS AT THE HEART OF THE TULSA ORAL SURGEON FIASCO AFFECT YOU AND YOUR CAREER
The assistants who worked with Dr. Scott Harrington, the dentist currently under investigation in Oklahoma for putting patients at risk for contracting HIV and hepatitis, were sent to seminars to be trained on IV sedation, though it’s illegal for dental assistants to perform the procedure in Oklahoma. Lesson learned: know your responsibilities and don’t rely on the dentist to enforce the proper limitations.2 – THE LATEST DENTAL ASSISTANT SALARY NUMBERS FROM THE U.S. DEPARTMENT OF LABOR
Compare your salary to others in the U.S. The highest hourly wage is in New Hampshire, with dental assistants making $22.37 an hour. The lowest is in eastern Kentucky, where dental assistants make $11 an hour. See how you compare.1 – EXCLUSIVE INTERVIEW WITH SUSAN ROGERS OF THE OKLAHOMA BOARD OF DENTISTRY ON DR. SCOTT HARRINGTON
By now we know how big of a deal the Tulsa investigation was for dental assistants. But do you know the details? Check out this interview with editor Kevin Henry and Susan Rogers to find out just what exactly was going on in that practice, and what you can do to protect yourself from a similar situation.