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What's on my tray: Some favorite tools of a DSO RDH

Aug. 16, 2022
Working for dental service organization sometimes affords the opportunity to buy some of the latest products. What does this DSO dental hygienist find useful?

We’re seeing more dental offices support the corporate model. Dental hygienists such as Shawna Greer choose to work for these models because they have a family feel but also the benefits of a large organization. Shawna appreciates having affordable medical insurance, paid time off, a competitive compensation, and opportunity for growth. The native Texan works four days per week with a general practice dental service organization (DSO), with two of those days spent in assisted hygiene. When asked about her three favorite products, she responded enthusiastically, "Centipede suction, Purevac, and the MouthWatch intraoral camera. This year has been all about these products, all day every day." 

Lights, camera, action!

A considerable part of dental hygienists’ jobs is educating patients about their oral health. For oral hygiene education, Shawna uses her MouthWatch intraoral camera. "The camera has been the best way to educate patients about what’s going on in their mouth. Taking quality pictures and showing them to the patients helps them see and understand why treatment is being recommended.” 

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The camera Shawna prefers is affordable at $299, yet it still captures clear and sharp images. MouthWatch cameras have a fixed focused lens and LED illumination to create diagnostic quality images with a press of a button. They have a single button capture feature for quick, lag-free image captures. If you want to integrate an intraoral camera in your practice, you can do it risk free with the company’s 30-day, no-risk satisfaction guarantee and lifetime technical support. As a MouthWatch camera user myself, I can attest to how amazing their intraoral camera is. 

Suck it up! 

With the Centipede suction, there is no need to "suck up" bad ergonomics and body pain. This suction is a plastic arm that encases the small volume suction hose and allows the two to move as one unit. To use it, thread the low-volume evacuation hose through the centipede suction, which is then secured onto the dental unit. The suction is flexible yet rigid enough to hold the position the clinician places it in. Once in the desired position, it locks into place until intentionally moved. This allows the saliva ejector to stay exactly where it’s placed. With the Centipede suction "holding" the small suction, the clinician can use both hands for all procedures. 

Additionally, it reduces the number of times dental hygienists must reach for the small suction. Shawna says her favorite feature of the Centipede suction is "not [having] to reach and stretch for the slow volume suction 1,632 times per patient." My favorite feature is knowing that I do not have to worry about my suction falling. As a dental hygienist and supporter of my fellow RDHs, I appreciate that it’s a small business-owned product that was invented by a dental hygienist. 

It’s in the name 

Purevac by Dentsply Sirona is pure evacuation and the OG of aerosol reduction evacuators. Invented prepandemic, it has been used in educational programs nationwide. When the pandemic began, we all ran to add it to our shopping carts. Shawna was one of the lucky dental hygienists who got one immediately and has used it for the last two years. 

"The Purevac took some time to get used to (holding and visual), but I can be more efficient during aerosol procedures," she said. At one end it has a hose connector for the high-volume evacuator and on the other end it has a large bore opening and a mouth mirror. With its 360-degree swivel and a fog-free mirror, clinicians do not have to sacrifice visibility for safety. The evac also has great ergonomic qualities, such as 14% less noise than a standard HVE. It’s 69% lighter and 130% more flexible than a standard HVE hose. With such great features, it’s no wonder the Purevac has a reputable and longstanding reputation. 

What else is on Shawna’s tray? Follow Shawna Greer, RDH, BSDH, on Instagram @shawnatx81 for more general dentistry tips. 

Editor's note: This article appeared in the August 2022 print edition of RDH magazine. Dental hygienists in North America are eligible for a complimentary print subscription. Sign up here.

About the Author

Amber Lovatos, BSDH, RDH

Amber Lovatos, BSDH, RDH, “The Latina RDH,'' is the founder of Latin RDH and the host of Un Cuento de Dos Higienistas podcast. She has been compassionately blazing trails personally and professionally for more than 10 years. As a clinician, educator, author, and champion for public health issues, she inspires industry colleagues with unique stories that include triumph over abuse and being first-generation college graduate. She can be reached at [email protected] or on Instagram @thelatinardh and @dentalhygienespark.