I am writing in response to the letters from the graduates of the Alabama preceptorship program. While I respect their pride and acknowledge that they may be clinically proficient in our profession, I would like to relate my experience.
As a dental technician in the U.S. Navy, I cleaned teeth for four years. I also was clinically proficient and proud of my work.
However, it was only after graduating from the University of South Dakota dental hygiene school that I realized how much better a formal education prepared me to treat my patients. This education in the sciences, psychology, sociology, and speech, etc. enable hygienists to look beyond the obvious and recognize the many contributing factors affecting our patients` oral health.
I do not consider the preceptorship- trained hygienists as "uneducated." However, I do think they are not "educated enough" to give their patients the level of care that can be provided by graduates of an accredited dental hygiene school.
Our patients deserve nothing short of the best care possible. Dentistry and the public should settle for nothing less!
Alan S. Case, RDH
Lino Lakes, Minnesota