July 1, 2006
An informal survey of dental hygienists found that many are math phobic. But Cynthia Chillock, CDA, RDH, EF, has a math equation that will make even the most math-a-phobic smile: RDH + EF + CDA + DDS = Happy Healthy Patients/Clients.

An informal survey of dental hygienists found that many are math phobic. But Cynthia Chillock, CDA, RDH, EF, has a math equation that will make even the most math-a-phobic smile: RDH + EF + CDA + DDS = Happy Healthy Patients/Clients. This new math brings a new definition for the team approach to practicing dentistry and dental hygiene, which Cindy discusses in one of her most popular programs. Just like an algebraic equation, it challenges the dental practitioner to view treatment from the patient’s perspective. It incorporates conservative periodontal therapy to increase the success of a dental practice. It requires a motivated hygienist with advanced instrumentation skills working with a dental assistant.

Traditionally, a hygienist must use a mirror, suction, and power scaler together. With Cindy’s new math model, four hands can accomplish more by increasing practice visibility and patient comfort. However, it is essential that the doctor be philosophically aligned with the new model to provide maximum benefits.

After attending the program, participants should be able to:

• Evaluate treatment outcomes to understand both success and failure
• Accurately predict the time needed to bring each patient to health
• Create individual parameters for referral
• Clearly explain disease and treatment options to patients and other team members

Practicing the new math model creates the authority, responsibility, and autonomy within a dental practice for which hygienists strive.

Cindy also presents programs on the new patient interview, infection control, and case presentation skills, as well as in-office consulting with the entire team. In addition, she is president of PerioData Company, a member of the Dental Assisting National Board Infection Control Exam Committeee, was a senior consulting editor for PerioReports for 20 years, and practiced clinical hygiene for 36 years! But her favorite presentation is the Salivary Singers show! With fellow hygienist Sharen Leigh and dental assistant Barb Lamm, the group provides a lighter look at our chosen profession in humor and song. The trio dresses in poodle skirts and saddle shoes, wears tacky wigs and make-up, and croons such favorites as “Leader of the Plaque,” “Sea of Blood,” and “Dental Hygiene’s Hard To Do,” to name a few.

All of Cindy’s programs are geared not only for hygienists, but the entire dental team. She is a firm believer in having everyone hear the same message at the same time. She understands that more than 90 percent of the problems within a dental office come from lack of communication in the hierarchy of the practice. Consequently, her programs constantly refocus on the patients - how to create the best experience for them and how to help them achieve health and enjoy doing it. This philosophy requires active participation by the entire dental team.

Cindy’s programs encourage hygienists to use handouts as helpful tools to take back to the office. She often keeps PowerPoint slides to a minimum, preferring group activities, discussions, and overhead presentations.

Cindy began her dental career as an assistant and later received her dental hygiene degree from the University of Pittsburgh. She moved to Arizona in 1971. After practicing dental hygiene for 13 years, she enrolled in the “Expanded Functions in Periodontics” program to learn advanced instrumentation skills. In Arizona, it is legal for hygienists to perform subgingival curettage and suture. This program changed her practice philosophy, and she found a mentor in Trisha O’Hehir, RDH. Through her work in the program, Cindy created the PerioData chart and teamed up with Trisha to present two-day continuing-education programs on periodontal therapies. Her current CE presentations have evolved from those beginnings. Frustration with the status quo of the typical model of dental practice led Cindy to make changes in the practices where she works. She has been blessed with wonderful mentors in her 40-plus years in dentistry - people willing to share their talents and information with her. Much of that information came from continuing education and incorporating what was learned back into the practice. Sometimes dental practitioners need a little help achieving that.

Cindy has been fortunate to work with a dental assistant for the last 26 years, which has helped her eliminate the pain and frustration of daily practice. This, in turn, has helped her stay motivated and enthusiastic about the care she gives to her patients. At the end of the day, we all want to be able to look in the mirror and know we have done our best to help others and feel proud of the services we provide.

By incorporating Cindy’s new math model, hopefully you, too, will know that you did the best you can for your patients and your profession. For more information about Cindy Chillock, contact her through [email protected], www.salivarysingers.com, or www.perio-data.com.

Help! I Need an Assistant!
by the Salivary Singers
(sung to the tune of Help! by the Beatles)

When I first started years ago to do this job
I did it all myself without looking like a slob
But the equipment changed and the blood flies in the air
It’s on the walls and on the floor and even in my hair.

Chorus ...
Help me if you can I’m feeling down
If you don’t help me this patient just might drown
Keep this stuff from flying all around
Won’t you please, please help me!