Readers' Responses

Dec. 7, 2005
RDH eVillage readers comment on why they "love" their profession.

Dear RDH eVillage:

I am in my 19th year of practicing dental hygiene. I started out with five years of dental assisting. I love dental hygiene. I am very relation-oriented and I love the connections I have with my patients, both young and old.

I work in a general practice. I love caring for the person as a whole. I love being able to improve their whole health by improving their oral health. And when the patient makes that connection and begins to practice the tips I teach them, it is a beautiful thing! I am greatly rewarded by seeing a nice healthy mouth and a happy person.

My patients are now very interested in their perio chart numbers, and they want to know where I am finding plaque! I love educating them on their oral health and getting them involved. Because when a person understands the "why" then the actual "doing" follows.

I love the challenge of getting a very anxious new patient to be comfortable in my chair, and actually look forward to it, and building on that relationship. I happen to be in a wonderful practice where I have plenty of time with each patient, and have many oral hygiene supplies to draw from. I love working with other hygienists, we mentor each other every day!

Oh, yeah, and the paycheck is good too.:)

Thanks for asking!

Lilburn, GA

Dear RDH eVillage:

I am a hygienist of 25 years. The reason I keep practicing is I really love getting to know my patients and making them feel cared for not only for their dental health but also for their personal welfare.

Wilmington, NC

Dear RDH eVillage:

I enjoy doing dental hygiene. I've been a hygienist for 15 years and I still find it rewarding. I work hard to do the best job that I can on cleaning my patients' teeth. As I am doing the prophy, I ask questions as to what techniques they use to brush, floss, or if they use anything else for their interdental cleaning.

Once I finish my prophy I ask them to demonstrate their techniques for me. Then I am able to demonstrate any needed changes or make suggestions as to how they can improve their oral hygiene.

I find that most people are quite receptive to me. On their next recall appointment I see very dramatic improvements in their tissue condition, plaque retention, and find much less bleeding. Many patients tell me, "Why didn't anyone ever tell me that before?" I'm sure that the other hygienists are telling them the proper techniques to do things. But I find if they don't see the difference between what they currently do and what they should be doing they don't make as many improvements.

They are shown these techniques both in their own mouths so that they can feel how it should feel, and also on the typodont so that their lips, cheeks, and tongue are not in the way of them seeing. Then I see night and day differences at their next recall appointment!