|iPad for the Dental Hygienist||
I have been in the dental field for almost 17 years. Starting out as a dental assistant for the first 5 years I learned the ins and outs of the various dental specialties. After learning the trade as a the right hand man to a dentist, I developed my skills as an Oral Preventive Assistant (OPA) and learned how to scale teeth. During my first years as an OPA technician I learned what burnout truly was. I worked the prophy line at my clinic like it was a prophy mill. I can still remember seeing 14 prophies in a typical eight hour workday. With the burnout, came the decline in my passion for what I was doing. I found myself simply going through the motions and I didn't feel like what I did had a purpose and it was notice my by office staff. I went back to assisting thinking things would be the same, but sadly I longed for the autonomy that I had as an OPA tech. I missed the relationships that I had personally forged with my patients and their appreciation for the great work that I had done. Fortunately I was given a second chance with a new found passion for what I enjoyed. My enthusiasm was recognized and I was provided the opportunity to gain additional training to become what was then called an Advance Oral Hygiene (AOH) technician. In my six years as an AOH technician I was very capable providing various dental briefings within my community, managing my periodontal maintenance roster, performing scaling and root planings, and even applying desensitizing agents. Before even considering applying to Dental Hygiene School I can honestly say I was very prepared for my future chosen profession. As dental professionals we all play a role in preventive dentistry but Dental Hygiene is very much a career in every respect. It is a field that you just can't go home to and not think about. While your place of employment or job is forgotten about as soon as you set into your home or whether you move from office to office, your license still says, Registered Dental Hygienist. I consistently think about how I can improve and how could I have handled a certain situation differently so that I can be better prepared for next time. I read articles in RDH journals, magazines, social pages and websites to learn what's new in our field and share with my coworkers. In clinic, I remain passionate to this day and I always strive to find way to provide my patients the best experience possible. Whether it's though my interactive patient education or instrumentation skills, I am consistently finding ways to make my job fun. Our landscape is always advancing with new products everyday so half the fun is learning of new products mentioned by a patient and doing research on it. Dental Hygiene is a career because of the passion it takes to practice dental hygiene. It is not simply clinical, because there are so many avenues we can venture off to that help others with our knowledge. We are educators, advisors, and facilitators to advance preventive dentistry.
The world of business is all about achieving and exceeding production goals. The business of dentistry is no different, a successful practice is defined by it's ability to exceed it's production goals and maintain a regular patient clientele. Some practices focus and strive to increase quantity for profits with an unfortunate sacrifice to quality. In Dental Hygiene school we are taught motivational interviewing and various patient education techniques to enlighten our patients in hopes they will maintain an appropriate level of care after their annual examination and prophylaxis. Dental Hygienists are taught to become the prevention specialists. We learn to provide the level of preventive care that may exceed the training or understanding of a General Dentist. We understand the need for the to patient to floss in a C-shape around the tooth when flossing and we know when to demonstrate the Bass technique and explain to our patients why it is preferred over the Fones technique when brushing. After Dental Hygiene school, hygienists are thrown into practices where they may be required to complete an exam and prophy within an hour. During that hour, medical history's must be accomplished and radiographs are often required. The examination itself may take an additional 15 minutes depending on the speed of the dentist and questions the patient may have. 20 minutes have gone by which would leave the hygienist 30 minutes for the prophy with 10 minutes left for breakdown, disinfection of the room and setup for the next patient. Through all of this, how many Dental Hygienists can honestly say they provide the time for quality patient education and motivational interviewing? Patient education should not be an afterthought and should be accomplished prior to any scaling. The joy I find in the Dental Hygiene profession is that you can be as creative as you want to in regards to patient education. You can perform patient education with oral hygiene aids and a hand mirror in the patient's own mouth, utilize demonstration models, or make use of the various technology aids that exist as demonstrated by this website. Make use of the time allowed, get creative, and find ways that will motivate the patient to maintain their own oral health.
Quiet simply, the iPad just works for what we as Dental Hygienists would intend to use a tablet for. I am currently an owner of an iPad, Nexus 7 and a Windows 8 laptop. So I have experience with all of the major operating systems and am familiar with what's available within their application ecosystems. When I say the iPad just works, I am speaking from not only my personal experience in ease of overall hardware usability, but I'm specifically referring to the quantity and quality of applications that are available for the three systems. There will always be lots of debate over why any tablet is better than the iPad based on specs, but it is the apps that make the tablet useful and there is no ecosystem greater than Apple's iTunes Store.
In four days I will achieve something that I would have never dreamed of since I've joined the Air Force 14 years ago. I will be graduating Dental Hygiene School here at Saint Petersburg College in Florida. It has been a long journey to get here, however I have met some amazing people, made some great friends, and have learned how much I truly love the dental hygiene profession. This website is dedicated toward the advancement of our profession. My favorite aspect of the dental profession is that you are only limited by your own imagination. The iPad is a wonderful piece of technology that has been stated by many as a fantastic consumption device, to which I agree to an extent. Did you know that there are currently over 400 apps designed for dentistry? In the upcoming weeks I will demonstrate via weekly YouTube shows, how the iPad can be used in the clinical setting, as well as review 2 dental applications and 1 iPad accessory. In addition, I will occasionally provide tips on how the iPad can be used by Dental Hygiene Students in the classroom setting. Thank you for coming to my website and I promise to make this as entertaining and informative for you as possible.