In favor of courses, tooDear RDH:I want to congratulate Jane Weiner, RDH, on her Guest Commentary (January 2002 issue), concerning how hygienists should be aware of, and active in, reporting domestic violence and abuse. She relates two personal stories in which she picked up just by "seeing" a change in her patients' regular dental care and hygiene — the elderly woman in the care of a "not" wonderful caretaker and the little boy living with an "abusive" father.

I am a Massachusetts resident, but, like the author, I also hold a Florida license where updated domestic violence courses are mandatory. I would like to see this in all states.

Mary Kellerman, RDH, MS/DPH
Billerica, Massachusetts

What to throw away?Dear RDH:I always enjoy the chance to see what is new or informative in my journals. Recently, I decided that I would have to throw some out because there wasn't any more space. When it came to my RDH journals, though, it was difficult to get rid of any.

As I looked through the pages, I would once again be refreshed on the reason I had saved them — the way each one had influenced me, and my daily operatory work. Little things come to mind, such as making sure to always wear my nametag, new products that are now a staple in our office, deciding to join ADHA, and changing some techniques for my perio patients.

It's nice to have something to help keep me passionate about the future of dental hygiene. So thank you for a job well done. Your publication will always have a place in my home.

Erin Kuehn, RDH
Glendive, Montana

Finding career happinessDear RDH:I am writing in response to the January 2002 article titled, "The good, the bad, and the ugly." I am a practicing hygienist in Nebraska. I have only been in practice for about two years, and I was shocked to hear how people responded to the recent survey taken on salaries and benefits.

I feel I received the best education available to hygienists these days. I attended the University of Nebraska Medical Center College of Dentistry and was awarded my bachelor's degree. It seems to me that many of those who responded are not satisfied with their current job situations. I, on the other hand, feel completely opposite. I work 30 hours per week, have full benefits, and make what I would consider to be one of the best salaries in the state. I sacrificed and received a great education and am now being fully compensated.

I read those negative responses other hygienists had in two ways. One, many hygienists today receive a compromised education and possibly expect more than they are worth and/or are willing to give; and, two, only you can make it better. I had a job I wasn't completely satisfied with so I went searching. Sometimes, if we want better, we have to go looking. Not everything comes right to us.

In my opinion, you should be compensated for what you do. I just hope those with associate degrees/preceptorship training are not expecting what more educated hygienists are receiving. And if those with bachelor's degrees are unhappy, feeling that you deserve more, go find it! I know there is a high demand for hygienists, but look at it closely. Higher demands mean more schools with shorter education programs. Eventually, there will be so many hygienists and less demand that the job market won't be competitive anymore. What you put in is what you get out of it.

Karen Schacher, RDH, BS
Elkhorn, Nebraska

Taking the challengeDear RDH:OK, Dr. Neiburger, I am taking your challenge (January 2002 Readers' Forum), because I do not want to be thought of as a close-minded, unprofessional registered dental hygienist!

I must say that I cannot wait to see if you can enlighten me. I would also like to add that I feel that I have evolved in my 14 years of clinical practice, 13 years of which have been for the same dentist, who is a very professional and goal-oriented practitioner. We have implemented a diagnosis-based, nonsurgical periodontal therapy program. He has sent us to numerous courses and has listened to all we have to say. He lets us set up the program and refine it as needed. The hygiene department has profited well from this and continues to grow.

Now, the big thing is that I can't see how I can take less time with these patients and get results; that is what I am most anxious to find out in your books. If you can help us in this department, I will be glad to learn.

I must also add, however, that I feel the tone of your most recent letter is very unprofessional and totally uncalled for. Hygienists are on a different level from dentists, but we are trained, well-educated, and very strong in our convictions. Please feel free to address us with the same respect as we would give to you. I look forward to reading your books.

Becky Cooper, RDH
Troy, Ohio

Stop writingDear RDH:Ah, yet another letter from Dr. Neiburger! I almost thought that his "challenge" came close to being genuine and valid, except for the blatantly patronizing comments and hints of our stupidity in nearly every paragraph.

In the dental hygiene program that I received my degree from in 1994, we were taught ergonomics (called Performance Logic in school ) and were not allowed to perform any other way! I think this way of practicing hygiene is very healthy, comfortable, and efficient, yet I still do not believe that 10-minute prophys are truly possible.

The reason I felt moved to write is to ask the readers and the writers to stop responding to Dr. Neiburger! As a profession, I think we all know in our hearts and our non-"ignorant" minds how to practice.

Unless we stop acknowledging Dr. Neiburger, he will only continue to goad and insult us further. Please, let's try to put this to rest for good!

Ginger Keck, RDH
Harrisburg, Pennsylvania

Raise your hand ... notDear RDH:Dear Dr. N.: Not it, really. We know what our problems are. The solution is not the 10-minute prophy. Anyone who doesn't want to read Dr. Neiburger's books, raise your hand. There you have it!

Barbara Burlew, RDH BS
Ocean, New Jersey

Treatment for injuriesDear RDH:I've been reading the letters concerning treatment for the work-related pains, discomforts, and injuries experienced by hygienists with great interest. While practicing hygiene for more than 30 years, I've had my share of injuries and tried many of the modalities suggested. However, to my knowledge, the treatment that I have found the most helpful has not been mentioned. Rolfing has been a great help with relieving injury and pain, as well as preventing future injuries. It has also been helpful for TMJ problems. An added benefit is that I just feel better in my body.

Rolfing works with the connective tissue to improve the body's alignment, balance, and function. By making changes on the deeper body levels, Rolfers stabilize the body for long-term benefits. It can also shorten injury recovery time by reducing pain, stiffness and muscle tension, improving movement and circulation around the injured area, as well as work on the secondary pain that often develops as the body begins to favor the injury.

For more information, go to

Ann Herdina, RDH
Olivia, Minnesota

To submit letters to the editor for publication in Readers' Forum, send by:

Mail —P.O. Box 3408, Tulsa, OK 74101
E-mail — [email protected]
Fax — (918) 831-9804
Signed letters must include the city and state where the reader resides or practices.