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Trending topics in dental hygiene: Stay in the know with Amanda Hill

Feb. 15, 2024
Do you have questions about lead shielding, premedication, the staffing shortage, or giving your notice? These are just a few of the trending topics you can learn about here.

As an author, speaker, and educator in dental hygiene, Amanda Hill, RDH, BAS, CDIPC, makes it her job to stay on top of the latest developments in the profession. A frequent contributor to DentistryIQ and sister publications, Hill wants her peers to be informed about what’s happening around them so they can make the best choices for their career development.

From what’s new about lead shielding during dental x-rays and whether dentists should be performing hygiene to learning about the right call for antibiotic prophylaxis before dental procedures, Hill knows how quickly things can change in dentistry. Here’s a look at some of her recent trending topics to help you stay in the know.

Lead shielding for dental x-rays: Still a thing?

Following a report from the American Academy of Oral and Maxillofacial Radiology report stating that it hasn’t found that x-rays cause genetic mutations or diseases (and the risk of thyroid cancer is very low), Hill provided insights and advised dental pros not to “send those aprons and collars off to the recycling center just yet.” Learn more about her findings on lead shielding, as well as recommendations from the ADA on the use of lead shielding during dental x-rays that came a few months later. 

Give your notice the “right” way

Quitting a job is hard. You may second guess yourself and have mixed feelings while saying goodbye to one group of people and being welcomed into another group. How you put in your resignation makes a big difference for all involved. How much notice should you give? How will the news be received by the boss and team? Leaving on good terms will help you in any future job prospects. Your reputation rides on how you handle the whole event. Professionalism must be maintained, even if the going gets tough for a while. 

When performing hygiene duties, are dentists crossing a line?

The staffing shortage has led dentists to perform more dental hygiene and administrative duties in their practices. But should they be doing this? Many have no choice, and the prevention training dentists have received varies a great deal. Therefore, they often don’t perform preventive therapies as well as dental hygienists, whose job is to stress preventive maintenance and nonsurgical therapies. Should dentists be taking on dental hygiene responsibilities, and is this move in the best interest of dental patients? Also, how can dentists hang on to the dental hygienists they do have on the team so they don’t need to fill in these positions themselves?

Staff shortages have changed the dental landscape

On the topic of the staffing shortage, the ongoing deficit in dentistry is causing a lot of tension in the profession, as people are lured away from their positions to other offices, and employees demand more from their employers to stay in their jobs. Many people left dentistry altogether after the pandemic. The landscape is drastically changing, and employers need to make note of this if they want to build a happy team in today’s environment. Thinking of and promoting dental professionals as health-care providers is an excellent start. Dentists need to tune into the needs of their staff, and show that they value them. 

Antibiotic premed confusion: What’s the right call?

There has been legitimate confusion through the years about antibiotic premedication for dental procedures. Guidelines have evolved, and have even been held in limbo. Questions abound about who has final say in the matter, as different organizations release different guidelines. Though most organizations have started to agree on the matter, many dental providers have not gotten the message or don’t agree with what’s been decided. They write prescriptions for patients and say, “Better safe than sorry.” What should your office be doing when it comes to antibiotic prophylaxis?

Is the extra money worth leaving your hygiene job?

Leaving an employer is a big decision, and one that comes with many considerations. Before you depart for a few dollars more, take a close look at what you do have. How’s the office culture? Do you receive good benefits? Are you allowed some flexibility? If you’re thinking of leaving, speak up. You might be surprised at what can happen when you voice your concerns.