Editor's Note: Why you should invest in dental hygiene equipment now

June 19, 2017
Edie Gibson, RDH, explains why dental hygiene graduates should consider "owning" their equipment right away.

“I am not a product of my circumstances. I am a product of my decisions.” —Stephen Covey

Editor Edie Gibson, RDH, MS

Are you still excited about your decision to pursue dental hygiene as a career? I hope so because it is an amazing, ever-changing profession, and one I love as much today as I did when I graduated in 1985! As you read this edition of RDH Graduate, my hope is you will be energized and reaffirmed that dental hygiene was indeed, the right decision.

Own your profession! Remember that from my last editorial? Let’s dive a little deeper into that thought process. It’s time to own your work gear.

Do you look at the seating and instruments in your treatment room and think you are back in the cave-man era? Are you tired and burned out by the last patient? I’ve been there! I use to beg the dentists I worked with for better instruments (perhaps some that had an actual edge left) and better seating (perhaps a seat that was made for a female, not a 200-pound man!).

Those conversations never went well, as you can imagine. It wasn’t until I attended a course on Mackinac Island by two of my now mentors, Linda Meeuwenberg and Nancy Miller, that I realized what I needed to make my hygiene life better. I purchased my own saddle stool, loupes and headlight, as well as an ultrasonic unit. They traveled with me to any office I worked in. Later, I purchased my own instruments as well so I would be prepared for every patient.

I know. The thought of laying out more money for this new career is like swallowing glass. I get it! I strongly encourage you to bite off a little bit at a time and invest in yourself. By investing in ergonomically correct technology, you can avoid the career-ending spinal surgery I endured in 2009, long before I was ready to give up my private dental hygiene practice.

If we practice what we preach to our patients (investing in their oral health), then it simply makes fiscally sound sense to invest in our physical well-being.

Jackie Sanders and Linda Meeuwenberg talk about seeking out mentors in this issue. I agree wholeheartedly. They are both mentors and lifelong “family” to me. Amber Auger discusses new technology in scrubs that adapt to your body temperature to help regulate the constant hot/cold temperatures in an office. What a concept! Take charge of your career now! Don’t wait for the dentist to buy you what you need to prolong your career. It’s your health at stake. Own it! Cherish that thought and … Go out and make it a great day!

Edie Gibson, RDH, MS

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