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Dental hygiene salaries, CDT changes, pet peeves: RDH top content in 2023

Dec. 28, 2023
Salary considerations, what irks you about your hygiene job, coding changes: enjoy our look back on what got you reading RDH in 2023.

Ongoing salary conversations and concerns

The most-read article from RDH’s eVillage newsletter was DentalPost’s annual salary survey on the state of the RDH career, indicating overall higher salaries, better benefits, and increased income satisfaction among dental hygienists. The article was published early in 2023 from data collected, timing worth noting because a poll published toward the end of the year asking hygienists about their salaries showed that 50% had not received a raise in 2023.

Those pesky peeves

Sometimes we just need to vent a little. Another newsletter favorite was a question (and subsequent responses) on the RDH Facebook page about hygienists' biggest job-related pet peeves, with responses ranging from the constant stress of running late to patients who say they “just want a cleaning.”

Major changes to D4355

In "D4355 undergoes major changes in CDT 2023," authors Kathy S. Forbes and Connie Simmons clear up confusion around D4355, full-mouth debridement: "This current amendment deletes the descriptor, which opens the door for more opportunities to use this procedure, especially in the public health sector and for clinicians providing direct access care outside the traditional dental setting."

Perfecting nerve blocks

The team at Hygiene Edge published a number of popular clinical how-to videos on RDH, and their video/article combo on perfecting technique when giving an inferior alveolar nerve block (IANB) injection was one of the most-read of 2023.

Water flossers: Worth the hype?

Despite working for a dentist who told patients that a water flosser might give the plaque a bath but won’t necessarily remove it, Amy Lemons did research that proved different: “Water flossing does not push bacteria into the periodontal pocket, rather it removes the bacteria from the periodontal pocket and is highly effective at reducing the total aerobic flora.”

Titanium dioxide in toothpaste

Titanium dioxide is one of the last ingredients listed on a box of toothpaste, but does that make it harmless? It may depend on where you're doing the asking, learned author Melissa Van Witzenburg.

RDH is not a degree

While not new, the article "Write it right: RDH is not a degree" was updated in 2023 shortly before the passing of its author, Winnie Furnari, and readers responded to it anew. Winnie felt strongly about hygienists reaching consensus on how to display professional credentials: "Let’s start writing our credentials right and uniformly to help dispel confusion … use a uniform display of credentials to show we’re united in our efforts to recognize the many accomplishments of ourselves and our colleagues."

Read more about Winnie Furnari’s many contributions to dentistry and dental hygiene.

Using a diode laser

With more concern than ever about aerosols, microbes, and what dental professionals can do to help protect patients, more hygienists are looking into the numerous benefits of preprocedural dental laser decontamination to reduce bacteria in the sulcus.

Sister site DentistryIQ also featured a series of articles explaining what the different types of lasers are used for, clinical procedures hygienists can perform, training requirements, and more: Your guide to using lasers in dentistry and dental hygiene