The Infographic Is Here: Promoting the dental hygiene profession
By proudly representing dental hygiene, you are simultaneously ensuring exciting career options and displaying your vast knowledge in the field of oral health.
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I graduated from dental hygiene school in 1995 and have been a practicing hygienist since I got my license shortly thereafter. Previous to being a dental hygienist, I was a dental assistant, receptionist, and a billing clerk. In all of my time in dentistry one thing that has not changed is the confusion on the part of others — the public, other health-care professionals, and even dental professionals — regarding the dental hygiene profession.
Truth be told, it’s a point of contention for me and something I’ve sought to remedy in my own small way through my interactions with … well, everyone who crosses my path. Now that I am editorial director I have the opportunity to reach a larger audience. For this I am very grateful because I think this is an important issue.
I cannot yet prove it (I hope someday I will), but I am convinced most people are unaware of the amount of education dental hygienists have. In a previous entry, I make mention of this and suggest that we need to be patient with those who are unaware of our qualifications. The American Dental Hygienists’ Association has incredible resources available on its website. One of my favorite is this document which was created because they have also recognized a need to clarify what we do to others. The ADHA works diligently to become part of discussions, both in public and private sectors, in matters related to oral health. In this way, they expand the exposure of the profession, introducing many to the possibilities of utilizing the many talents and abilities of dental hygienists.
It is time for you to do your part. We at PennWell have created this infographic and it is my hope that you will share it with everyone and anyone who crosses your path. Part of your ethical responsibility as a dental hygienist is to share what you know to improve the health of those you serve and to improve the visibility of your profession.
By proudly representing dental hygiene, you are simultaneously ensuring exciting career options and displaying your vast knowledge in the field of oral health. Continuing to do this throughout your career will allow us to see dental hygienists quoted in articles pertaining to oral health as opposed to dentists. It will ease conversations with other health-care professionals (such as talking to a pharmacist on the phone regarding a patient’s medications and being asked why you are the one initiating the call and not the dentist). It will increase the public’s knowledge and trust of dental hygienists when they are aware that we have more experience in providing oral health education and prophylaxis than dentists and that we are primarily disease prevention specialists.
As I’ve said many times before, this profession is yours. The extent of fulfillment and happiness you derive from it is all up to you. Proudly share your knowledge, your experience and your credentials. You worked hard for it, you deserve it!