I remember, not long after starting to work at RDH, getting forwarded an email from a reader about a stock image we had featured in an article. The photo model had his mask pulled below his chin. Or was it his nose? It opened my eyes to something I had never noticed before, which is how horrible the infection control practices are in most “dental” stock photography! But I never thought laughing about someone’s schnoz sticking out above his mask like a strange car hood ornament would be relevant to other parts of my life.
Then came 2020, and now this memory holds much different meaning for me. So do the sight of face masks in general, face shields, and N95s—and Clorox wipes, hand sanitizer, flour, dried beans, toilet paper, canned soup, rice, eggs, hand soap . . . One of the most exhausting things about the pandemic is that it has left us no place to retreat. Even mundane items remind us that life is not how it used to be.
And yet I have been left with a lasting sense of gratitude for the opportunity to continue my work on this publication throughout the pandemic. Even though it’s been challenging some months, we have sent printed issues to your mailboxes, and email newsletters every week. Working with oral health-care professionals whose impact on our individual and collective health is so important but underacknowledged has given me a sense of purpose this year that I will forever be grateful for.
In the meantime, we continue on. We are currently planning to have our RDH Under One Roof conference be in-person next year, and in this issue, we take a look at the ways dental hygiene is continuing to change, but also at the pillars of its practice—evidence-based recommendations, healthy ergonomics, and understanding fair compensation.
Amelia Williamson DeStefano, MA