A workable theory about the pick

Having just celebrated my 40th year practicing dental hygiene and finding it as challenging and as rewarding as when I began in the 50s, I have seen many "theories" come and go in our profession.

Dear RDH,

Having just celebrated my 40th year practicing dental hygiene and finding it as challenging and as rewarding as when I began in the 50s, I have seen many "theories" come and go in our profession.

I was delighted to read Trisha O`Hehir`s article (September 1995) recommending the use of triangular wooden sticks. However, I was sorry that she overlooked the plastic pick completely.

Years ago, my hygienist sister introduced me to the "point," and I found it to have great possibilities. But I was bothered by its inability to reach lingually with much effectiveness. At the time, I was using a plastic holder designed for use with a wooden toothpick. The toothpick is placed into the holder, snapped off, and locked into place.

I decided to try placing the plastic pick into the holder, cutting it off with a sharp knife, and locking it. Shazam! It worked. My patients loved it not only for its slim design (which reaches further into the sulcus) but also the fact that you do not have to replace it after each use (only washing with soap and water). As far as I am able to determine, it is as effective as any wooden pick, perhaps even more so, with noticeable improvement of periodontal defects.

In dental hygiene, as in many aspects of life, "whatever works" and this certainly does.

Marilyn Stratford, RDH

Portland, Oregon

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