Spring is just around the corner. For me, the winter months have simply flown by. I am smiling daily as I peek inside the lives of so many of our colleagues and learn about the multiple platforms where dental hygiene is making a difference. This month we are focusing on mobile dentistry and teledentistry. It is no surprise that we are facing a crisis of access to dental care, yet so many of you have taken this challenge and found solutions on your own.
As a young girl, I used to make house calls with my father, who was a dentist. In the late 1960s and in a small, rural Colorado town, dentists were few and the needs were many. My father was either in his office, on the Native American reservation, in the local hospital managing emergencies, or heading to someone’s home to provide treatment. Today, I still have the black bag he carried everywhere. The contents were few, but you could fulfill people’s needs with what was in that bag. I remember the smell of eugenol and several different packs of instruments wrapped in sterile white towels. Back then we did not wear masks or gloves, and the purpose was to take care of the patient and relieve pain. We were living the early life of mobile dentistry.
Jumping forward 40 years, I began to meet numerous influential dental hygienists through the RDH Award of Distinction program. Many of these individuals were recognized for their efforts to increase access to care for the elderly, for children, and in Third World countries. With my arrival at RDH, I was most fortunate to meet Melissa Turner and Sonja Dunbar and attend the first annual National Mobile Dentistry Conference, which was held recently in Orlando. I have traveled to Denver, spending the day learning about the research behind Crown Seating and DNTLworks products. And while attending the Yankee Dental Congress and the Chicago Midwinter Meeting, I made a special effort to visit the exhibit floor and learn more about the companies that make mobile equipment and intraoral cameras, as well as provide teledentistry solutions. These have been amazing opportunities to learn about this powerful technology.
In this issue, you will read Dr. Steve Perlman’s article that provides unique insight into the Special Smiles program in collaboration with the Special Olympics Healthy Athletes. You will find an article with solutions on how to avoid burnout, a reminder of social media cautions, and a piece cowritten by an RDH and RN that provides you with the dental and medical views of bruxing.
Be sure to read Melissa Turner’s first article of a four-part series based on many of the questions she has been asked regarding developing a mobile program. If you are curious and eager to learn more about getting to those who can’t get to us, our RDH Under One Roof conference will be hosting two preconference events on July 15, 2020: the “Mobile Dentistry” and “Dental Impact” presentations will take place from 1:00–4:00 p.m. on Wednesday. Looking forward to seeing many of you at RDH UOR in Denver!
Fill your day with opportunities . . .
Jackie Sanders, MBA, RDH
Chief Editor, RDH