Dental Hygiene Internet: Navigating our career

Oct. 1, 2012
Self-regulation, national licensure, and development of the Advanced Dental Hygiene Provider are serious matters that require our attention.


Self-regulation, national licensure, and development of the Advanced Dental Hygiene Provider are serious matters that require our attention. The number of dental hygiene programs graduating ever-increasing numbers into the workforce, coupled with the lack of clinical positions, weighs heavily on our minds. Our profession is at a crossroads and we require guidance on taking the right path.

Mentors, our professional organizations such as ADHA and AADH, and educational institutions provide assistance for those navigating the career of dental hygiene. Other great sources are textbooks and videos created and authored by RDHs. No longer must we turn to groups led by organized dentistry for answers because our professional colleagues have information to share.

A trip to the local college bookstore is also no longer necessary, as we can acquire books online. Karen Raposa, RDH, MBA, is one of the authors of “Treating the Dental Patient with a Developmental Disorder,” available on The book can be purchased in paperback or downloaded to your Kindle, which makes the information easy to carry and access in any patient treatment situation. The text covers a broad range of developmental disabilities, and offers guidance for not only treatment but also information gathering and effective communication. Find the digital or paperback version at address #1 at right.

Christine A. Hovliaras, RDH, BS, MBA, CDE, has written a series of books designed to help students, faculty members, and practicing hygienists navigate the practice and science of dental hygiene. Mentors in our profession contributed to several chapters, allowing us to learn from top leaders and educators. Visit for information. For a free preview of Chapter 2, access the ordering site at address #2.

Diane Millar, RDH, MA, has written a dynamic book titled, “Reinforced Periodontal Instrumentation and Ergonomics for the Dental Care Provider.” This flip-chart text offers a unique look at instrumentation techniques, and addresses proper ergonomics to decrease injuries common in our career. I had the pleasure of meeting Diane earlier this year, and I was truly impressed with her knowledge and her passion for ending musculoskeletal injuries in the dental practice. Her instructions are easy to follow, with graphics that depict each technique. The book is available at Diane’s website at

Margaret J. Fehrenbach, RDH, MS, donated copies of her Dental Anatomy Coloring Book to the Napa Dental Experience this year to help raise funds for our community service project, which assists transitioning youth in the foster program. The cover of the book alone piqued the interest of dental professionals, volunteers, and even the catering staff. It is obviously a good tool for students to learn head and neck structures, it is of value to anyone wanting to test their knowledge of dental anatomy, and it is also fun as well. The coloring book can be ordered from the textbooks link at Margaret’s website at, and it can be ordered from Amazon at address #3. The coloring book has received very good reviews on the Amazon site, but one reader seemed shocked such a book was not appropriate for children. My guess is that she missed “dental anatomy” and went right to “coloring book” before she purchased.

In addition to books, online videos fill a niche for both patients and clinicians. From the instructional and informational to even humorous, more people are accessing learning content in the form of online videos. One such video is found on and was brought to my attention by a patient during an oral cancer screening. Though the video was posted in 2009, the information is easy to understand, and perhaps more importantly for us as clinicians, patients are watching it. If you have not yet experienced questions on your oral cancer screening process from clients, be assured you will. The public is demanding to know more about oral cancer and what dentistry is doing to address the disease. View the video submitted by the Oral Cancer Foundation at address #4.

For best results, share the video in-office after performing a head and neck exam. While it fails to mention saliva tests for HPV detection, it is easy for you to ask questions and suggest further testing for those at risk for HPV infection. There are tests available for dental office use, or you can refer patients to their primary health-care providers. This is a powerful way to make a difference in life and health.

You can find numerous choices on dental hygiene-related topics, such as instrumentation, ergonomics, and treatment protocols, by visiting YouTube and entering the correct search keywords. While browsing all the educational offerings, be sure to take a few moments to laugh. Try typing “dental hygiene funny” into the search bar, and select a video on the right to tickle your funny bone.

My bookmarks contain a funny video that brightens my day even after the toughest clinical situations (address #5). Targeted at students, this parody is fun for anyone familiar with our profession. Nothing is sacred or safe from Andy’s humor, from our professional title, to RDH magazine, and everything in between. You’ll find yourself returning to this video periodically, and I challenge you not to crack a smile. RDH

Websites referred to in this column.


LORY LAUGHTER, RDH, BS, practices clinically in Napa, Calif. She is owner of Dental IQ, a business responsible for the Annual Napa Dental Experience. Lory combines her love for travel with speaking nationally on a variety of topics. She can be contacted at [email protected].

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