Annette Ashley Linder, RDH

Aug. 1, 2003
Annette Ashley Linder, RDH, BS, offers programs that are geared not only to the hygienist, but also to the entire dental team. In this way, the hygienist has the support of the doctor and the entire team

By Anne-Marie C. DePalma

Background behind seminar

Annette Ashley Linder, RDH, BS, offers programs that are geared not only to the hygienist, but also to the entire dental team. In this way, the hygienist has the support of the doctor and the entire team to achieve the goal of creating an ethically, clinically sound and highly productive hygiene department.

One program she has developed is: "A New Look at the Old Recall, It's Not Just a Cleaning and Checkup!" This program is designed to announce that the era of cleaning teeth is over; that in order to enhance the patient and the dental professional's perception of the hygiene appointment, one needs to re-define the dental hygiene care appointment.

Advances in technology allow the hygienist to offer various treatments that restore health, function and esthetics. The knowledge that periodontal health is linked to systemic health mandates the need for on-going periodontal evaluation and treatment. Getting the patient to understand and comply with that need is a challenge. Cancellations and no-shows are a constant battle within every practice. As long as patients continue to view the hygiene appointment as only a "cleaning" that obstacle will not be overcome.

Speaker background

"A hygienist is not just the girl who cleans teeth," according to Annette. Through her speaking, consulting, and writing, she is elevating the role of the dental hygienist within the dental hygiene profession and dentistry. Annette has logged over 30 years as a practicing dental hygienist.

In 1989, she formed Capital Associates, a consulting and speaking group. She has been on the national lecture circuit since 1991, having presented more than 250 seminars in the United States, Canada, Europe, South America, and Japan.

In those early days, she was one of the few "independent" hygienist/speakers, meaning she was not corporately sponsored.

The program

Her program provides a periodontal research update, facilitation of a recall system that is truly effective, and enhances communication skills so that the participant will get patients to move beyond "I only want what the insurance covers."

She teaches audiences how to turn theory into real every day practice. She shares systems and procedures that she sees working in dental practices across the country. Because she is also a consultant to offices, the advice in her programs is gained through actual first-hand knowledge of what works and what doesn't. Through her work as a national speaker, Annette has the opportunity to attend the most current continuing education programs. This enables her to provide her audiences with current trends and research.

Noted for high-content, "nuts and bolts" information, Annette's lectures are presented in state-of-the-art PowerPoint presentations. She always includes an extensive course handout containing ready-to-use office materials.

Program anecdotes

After being on the lecture circuit for many years, Annette feels honored when hygienists report that hearing her lecture or reading her articles has made an impact on their professional lives. One hygienist told her, "I was totally burned out after 20 years of clinical hygiene, and I was ready to quit. After attending one of your courses, I am excited anew and can't wait to get back to the office and get to work with my patients."

Dentists who have taken her programs or are involved with her consultative services are also highly impressed. In fact, one doctor, following her hygiene in-office consultation wrote, "Thank you for your special treatment of my team. You have changed my practice and my hygienists are excited and proud to be offering the best in periodontal and preventive care to our patients. Thanks for what you have done for dentistry and for being a friend."

Personal background

Annette is a dental hygiene graduate of West Liberty State College and also possesses a bachelor's of science degree in human resource management from Virginia Commonwealth University. Along with her extensive travel, she has been published in numerous dental hygiene and dental publications. She currently writes a monthly column on dental hygiene for Dental Economics magazine.

Serving as a consultant, Annette has been involved in several opinion leader boards for the dental industry. She has always been a member of ADHA and feels that there are several important issues that concern her about dental hygiene. Many hygienists, especially new graduates, see themselves as the "cleaning lady" with no real understanding of the concepts of periodontal therapist and the dental hygienist as a health care provider.

Also, she feels ADHA needs to focus energies and resources on a public awareness campaign defining the importance and definition of the dental hygienist. Changes with both issues would help carry dental hygiene to new heights. Annette is trying to achieve some of that through her work teaching and consulting.

Annette has had some interesting experiences while presenting continuing education programs. One of her most challenging experiences occurred last year when she was invited to lecture in Belgium, a country where dental hygiene is illegal!

This was followed by an amusing experience at the American Dental Association meeting in New Orleans in October 2002. Her lecture was scheduled to be in a large auditorium due to the large audience that was expected. As she always does, she arrived early for the lecture to make sure everything was in order. Shortly after she arrived, people also started to arrive and take their seats. Her course was scheduled for 9:30 a.m. and here it was only 7:30 a.m.! She was thrilled that so many had wanted to see her presentation!

When she started to speak to one of the attendees about it, he informed her that he was there to see the President! It turned out that former President George Bush was the keynote speaker.

Due to an overflow crowd, the meeting planners designated some of the bigger rooms for off-site video for those who were unable to get into the main room to hear the former president.

Annette says that she has followed many famous speakers to the podium in her 12 years of presentations, but to follow the president of the United States was definitely a first. What a great way for her to open her program and a wonderful icebreaker.

Visit her website at for a detailed continuing education schedule. To experience her enthusiasm for dental hygiene and all of its potential, the following is a list of upcoming national programs.

• Pembroke Dental Association, Ottawa, Canada, August 25
• American Dental Association Annual Session, San Francisco, CA, October
• LSU Dental School CEU program, New Orleans, La., November 7
• Maryland Dental Hygienists' Association Meeting, Baltimore, Md., November 18
• Greater NY Meeting, New York, N.Y., November 29, 2003

Ann-Marie C. DePalma, RDH, BS is a practicing hygienist in a periodontal-implant practice.She is a graduate of the Forsyth School for Dental Hygienists, is active in the Massachusetts Dental Hygienists' Association, and is a Fellow of the Association of Dental Implant Auxilliaries and Practice Management.Ann-Marie has written articles and presents programs on dental implants, TMD, and developmental delays and can be reached at [email protected].