March 7, 2011
In her Director's Message, Kristine Hodsdon strongly encourages dental professionals to take better care of their hands.

I am veering away from my usual “positive-message.” Why? I have observed nasty hands, and I must vent.

Many practice management consultants encourage to critically look in the mirror at our own smiles. After all, they tell us that our smiles reflect what we esthetically value. This argument suggests that, if dentists have multi-shaded teeth or varying crown opacities making up their smiles, they may be perceived as less authentic by a patient about the importance of smile enhancement.

Now, move down the body, and extend this argument to include our hands.

Since clinicians’ hands are the instruments of their livelihood, one would think we would take care of them. Being a female, I realize manicures are part of the “girl culture.” Yet, with the increasing number of male hygienists, male dental assistants, and maturing male dentists, I cannot believe the nasty hands that belong to some oral health professionals.

I’ve noticed dry and scuffed hands, unkept nail beds, and uneven or “long” nails — more males than females. But us gals shouldn't be smug about it. Think about it. Gloved or not, your hands are going into people’s mouths.

Male or female, well-trimmed, manicured nails look clean and professional. We are fanatical about beautiful smiles. Shouldn’t our hands reflect beauty, not abuse?

Consequently, I implore you to mend the look and feel of your hands and fingernails. Clean, strengthen, shape, and make your hands and nails healthier. They are a reflection of you as a professional, as well as your personal hygiene.

P.S. Please pass the moisturizer.

Kristine A. Hodsdon RDH, BS
Director, eVillage