Readers’ Forum

Oct. 1, 2007
Dear RDH: I do not make a habit of reacting to articles in RDH Magazine, because most of the time I find they are very well written and informative.

Dear RDH:

I do not make a habit of reacting to articles in RDH magazine, because most of the time I find they are very well written and informative. I did, however, disagree with a point that Anne Guignon made in the Comfort Zone column in the August 2007 issue, and I feel compelled to reply.

The author states - as the number-one mentioned technique for increasing scaling effectiveness - that the tip should be activated before placing on the tooth surface. This is absolutely false. Activating the tip before placing it in the right position will cause breakage to the tip and cause more patients discomfort due to the fact that the back or the face of the tip might hit the tooth surface and cause a “hammering” effect.

We as hygienists are perfectly aware of the right “exploring” technique and are perfectly able to position the tip as it moves from surface to surface in a linear micromovement. And all it takes is a release from the foot pedal to reposition this tip before activating it again between surfaces. What a lot of us are unaware of is the fact that with the slender tips of the piezo, we are able to - again with just a release of the foot pedal - use the working end of the tip as a cursory assessment tool to confirm the soft tissue attachment and to explore the smoothness of the root surface. The pronounced tactile vibration transmission to fingertips with a piezo tip allows for pre- and post-operative exploratory strokes to be performed prior to and following tip activation.

Activating the tip before the correct placement, as the author stated, is not advisable for all the reasons mentioned above. And since this was such a strong statement in the article, I felt we should correct this misconception.

Thank you for your time,
Anneke Wagner, RDH
Racine, Wisconsin

Things About Doctors That Annoy MySpace Dental Hygienists

RDH recently asked its friends on MySpace, “What is the most annoying thing your doctor does on any given day?” Most dental hygienists believe that waiting too long for a doctor’s exam or listening to informal banter between doctors and patients gets under their skin.

Other comments were:

“Doesn’t explain the treatment well enough to patients. Also, cross contaminates, wears dirty gloves going through a chart.”
“Starts the day with negative comments about patients at the morning huddle.”
“I work in a very busy office and the doctor sometimes gets flustered.”
“Does not pay attention to me when I’m giving my input on the patient’s case or treatment.”
“I think the thing that annoys me most about my doctor is he doesn’t always take the time to listen to what the patients are saying. Also, it absolutely drives me crazy when he is presenting treatment and will say to the patient, ‘Now, this is really expensive.’ I just don’t understand why he would say that!”
“Doesn’t say what he needs. Often looks for stuff himself when we know where it is!”
“Tells employees to go put on lipstick because they look pale or points out their blemishes.”
“She checks every tooth with an explorer, as if I was still in school getting an instructor check.”
“Tries to read the chart when doing an exam ... as I’m writing it up!”