Do you at least agree that a free trip to Chicago might be fun?

Cathy Anne Anderson is a hygienist who lives and works in Southern Illinois. She dresses up in a costume and tells children that her name is "Flossie" when she visits local health fairs.

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by Mark Hartley, Editor

Cathy Anne Anderson is a hygienist who lives and works in Southern Illinois. She dresses up in a costume and tells children that her name is "Flossie" when she visits local health fairs.

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She told RDH, "The first 10 minutes of any dental appointment should be reserved for interaction with the patient. The importance lies in establishing a sense of trust and emotional comfort with the patient. It's critical to know where the patient is coming from."

Is your philosophy really that different? Even if you disagree, do you think your idea about the "first 10 minutes" has any merit — maybe somebody else would like to hear it?

A 24-year veteran, Sandra Boucher has been working as a public health hygienist in North Carolina during recent years. While her goal is to increase public access to dental care, she does have a history of private practice.

In fact, she told RDH, "Everyone has a dental story. Listen to each story in its entirety. Listen for an opportunity to educate. Education is the key to prevention ... Always use positive words and phrases to describe ways the patient can improve a technique ... Personalize oral hygiene instructions to each person."

They're all good ideas, but we're kind of skeptical that someone who used to be in private practice would be the only one to think of them.

Tammy Honold works out of the trunk of her car to provide care for Native American populations in rural Colorado. She told RDH, "Only change one habit at a time. If we give our patients one habit to change at a time, the chances of them mastering that one skill will be good. You can introduce another change at subsequent recall appointments."

Do you agree? Would you rather be staked out on an ant bed before using the words, "patients" and "recall" in a sentence, preferring to say "clients" and "recare?"

Anderson, Boucher, and Honold shared the above opinions, among others, when they submitted entries for the 2002 Healthy Gums Healthy Life™ Award of Distinction. They probably sat down and calculated what makes dental hygiene special to them on a day ... well, pretty much like today, since the deadline for submitting entries remains the same – March 31.

The trio submitted their ideas about patient care, as well as some tips for improving compliance with self-care regimens. A panel of judges deemed them to be recipients of the award, and they joined five other hygienists in an expenses-paid trip to Chicago in August 2002.

The John O. Butler Company pampered them like royalty, taking them out for fancy meals and a dose of that Chicago nightlife. They received all sorts of gifts, and then had a makeup artist work them over. Why is that last thing worth mentioning? Well, once their hair was brushed and the makeup looked good, they had their picture taken for the cover of RDH (September 2002 issue).

And, of course, they were presented with their Healthy Gums Healthy Life™ 2002 Award of Distinction at a special reception at the RDH Under One Roof conference. So, do you agree that a free trip to Chicago might be fun?

If so, turn to page 59 for the details on submitting your ideas about practicing dental hygiene.

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