Some dental authors recommend that dental hygienists purchase equipment and products themselves, often for ergonomic reasons. Specific equipment and products tailored for use by a dental hygienist has been suggested for reducing risks associated with occupational injuries. A survey posted in a recent issue of RDH eVillage asked dental hygienists to indicate the influence they have on the products purchased by a dental practice.
The chart at the bottom of this article breaks down the buying influence exerted by the 873 dental hygienists who participated in the February 2014 survey. The chart shows the percentage of dental hygienists who directly coordinate the purchase of a dental product, make the decision on which type of product is purchased, or if the dental hygienist is consulted before a product is purchased. The chart also reveals buying power by the ages of the dental hygienists.
There is no product category in which the majority of dental hygienists buy dental products outright. With the exception of magnification and protective eyewear, less than 10% of dental hygienists directly purchase a product in the categories mentioned below. But for most of the product categories listed, dental hygienists do have an influence over buying decisions.
In fact, it may be easier to focus on product categories where only the dentist makes the purchasing decision. A majority of dentists make the purchasing decision without input from dental hygienists for:
- Digital radiography equipment (66%)
- Low-speed handpieces (50%)
- Operator’s seating (52%)
The latter, in particular, may irritate authors who believe dental hygienists should invest in their own equipment that can safely prolong a career. For RDH magazine, an example of such an author is Anne Guignon, RDH. Consider reading these articles by Guignon:
- Advocating your position
- Financing the purchase of dental equipment
- A different perspective on the numbers