I was very confused by the Commentary by Heidi Emmerling Jones in the February 1996 issue. From the article, I couldn`t tell if the author was attempting to denigrate the hygiene skills of dentists in general; being critical of personalized license plates that she doesn`t care for; or both. Perhaps it was a miserable attempt at humor. At any rate, I must take issue with her Commentary because I fail to see any intended humor or even any technical relevance.
First of all, I would like to know what other "preventive and therapeutic (non-surgical) periodontal treatments" she learned. Is there something besides scaling, (including root planing and curettage), and plaque control/patient education that I missed? I don`t remember failing this part of my training, nor do I fail now to adequately address my patients` periodontal needs.
Her reference to the preponderance ("at least three times as much as dentists") of clinical and classroom time spent in hygiene school learning these techniques is a veiled attempt to belittle the education and skills of dentists.
Fortunately, the hygienists in my office aren`t this pompous and arrogant. They are confident professionals and work well with me as a team - both of us aware of the role we must play in caring for the oral health of our patients. Amazingly enough, our patients respect us for our contributions to their overall care and not for the letters on our license plates. Unfortunately, any hope we have of fostering, improving, and maintaining good relations between hygienists and dentists is severely hindered by cheap and insulting diatribe such as this. I would hope this is not the prevalent attitude of your editorial staff.
Stephen C. Vaughn, DDS