The most wonderful time of the year: RDH Under One Roof is the dental hygiene holiday

May 11, 2015
With deference to Andy Williams, "the most wonderful time of the year" for dental hygienists is July 15-17, 2015. Caesars Palace, Las Vegas, is the place, and RDH Under One Roof (UOR) is the holiday.


With deference to Andy Williams, "the most wonderful time of the year" for dental hygienists is July 15-17, 2015. Caesars Palace, Las Vegas, is the place, and RDH Under One Roof (UOR) is the holiday. Courses, events, and friendships made and renewed are the presents. This festive time provides hygienists with exceptional CE programs and networking with vendors and likeminded hygienists. This month's column will be devoted to highlighting a few of the many courses available; space doesn't allow me to discuss all the programs but these are a few that intrigued me, so unwrap and enjoy!

For 2015, UOR has added exciting new formats and information. Previously, each course was of the same length; this year, course lengths vary from one hour to all-day programs with something to suit every style. Starting with premeeting activities Tuesday, July 14, the program includes the American Academy of Dental Hygiene's annual meeting and the kick-off welcome program. New this year, several programs on Wednesday are repeated on Friday. In addition, in order to assist hygienists in managing the investment of attending the meeting, conference organizers have put together a tuition justification toolkit. The toolkit includes simple steps to help gain approval to attend the event from an employer.


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Many dental hygiene vendors will provide programs to inform participants about various topics and products that will enhance patient care and practice efficiency. Colgate, Premier, Dentsply, Straumann, Perio Protect, and independent consultants and educators will be presenting informative programs geared to enhance dental hygiene practice. Whether your preference is learning about a company's latest product or engaging with leading educators, the gift of knowledge will be gained around every corner of the three-day event.

I was asked to provide a sample of some of the great programs for this year's UOR. With so many exceptional choices, it is hard to pick only a few to review for this column. So, with apologies to the courses and presenters I have not included, here are a few of the courses that intrigue me.

"Thumb Class Is in Session" is a two-hour program to be presented by Shari Green, RDH, COM, BA, on Wednesday, July 15. Shari will review the complex changes in the growth and development of the orofacial complex that can be compromised by digit sucking habits. These changes result in speech, dental, and self-esteem concerns. Shari has researched 441 children and correlates how non-nutritive sucking has affected these children and will provide a definitive basis for defining and understanding this complex behavior. It is much more than just about the thumb!

In the general session on Wednesday, July 15, Stacy McCauley, RDH, MS, will discuss the obesity epidemic and its effect on the health-care system and dentistry during "Big Patients, Big Consequences: Obesity and the Implications for Dentistry." Over the past 20 years, dentistry has undergone a shift in understanding the role inflammation plays in the disease process. Science recently has started to look at obesity and its role in the oral inflammatory process that can have systemic implications. Stacy will bring participants through the science of obesity, inflammation, and risk assessment along with diagnosis and treatment-planning strategies for the at-risk population. She will discuss trends associated with food consumption and physical activity while reviewing self-care recommendations for patients before and after bariatric surgery.

According to the National Law Center on Homelessness and Poverty, each year over two million people in the United States lack access to a residence. The causes of homelessness are multifaceted and complex (e.g., untreated mental illness, substance abuse, domestic violence, low-paying jobs, cuts in public assistance). Dental diseases are rampant within this population. Homeless persons are 12 times more likely than individuals with stable housing to have dental problems. Become a part of the solution by participating on Wednesday, July 15, with UOR and Noel Kelsch, RDHAP, BS, as the 2015 Dental Impact tackles the "Challenges of Homelessness."

This all-day course not only introduces solutions, but also takes the audience to the clients that need preventive services while delivering a health fair for the community! This full day of learning and serving can be taken back to the participants' own home states.

The keynote speaker, Allison Massari, will present "The Fire Within" on Thursday, July 17. Having built successful businesses and survived devastating, near-fatal car accidents, Allison has found success through courage, creativity, and compassion. Her mission is to alleviate human suffering through supporting individuals in attaining their highest potential while respecting, comforting, and uplifting hearts. Allison shares her story of loss, forgiveness, and understanding while illuminating how compassionate, patient-centered care builds an expansive foundation for healing patients. She explains that the power of what dental professionals do goes far beyond the technical aspects of the profession, so that the professional becomes the healing place that medicine can't touch. She transforms lives, while giving participants tools for managing a stressful environment or difficult person, and understanding that being an expert at one's job is "compassionate care." She allows participants to examine the relationship between personal values, compassion, kindness, and patient satisfaction, while mastering the art of bringing kindness to someone regardless of time constraints.

Thursday morning's general session, "I See Your True Colors Shining Through: Cultural Competence for Hygienists" will be presented by Sherri Lukes, RDH, MS, FAADH. Sherri will conduct a highly interactive session that will describe key trends in the demographics of culturally diverse populations, identify general health beliefs and values of diverse groups, describe methods for effective communications, and identify collaborative partners in the provision of oral health services. She will investigate different models of cultural competency and reflect on how various populations possess barriers and challenges that can affect their oral health. Participants learn how to communicate evidence-based oral care effectively and sensitively through group activities and scenarios.

The practice of dental hygiene is evolving and becoming more comprehensive. It is no longer enough to address the oral/systemic connection - we must go beyond, according to Christel Autuori, RDH, RYT, MA. Christel's Friday, July 17, workshop, "The Holistic Hygienist," will take a multidimensional, holistic approach to patient oral health care, including body, mind, and spirit. Christel challenges participants to learn to "be present" for both ourselves and the patients we treat. Many patients are using complementary healing approaches along with traditional Western medical techniques and medications. Her program will provide a glimpse into information and experiential practice in some of the healing modalities that patients are using.

This year's UOR will provide many "happy meetings and friends coming to call," and will engage, energize, and revitalize your hygiene career while bonding new and old friendships. Here's to the most wonderful time of the hygiene year! Looking forward to seeing you there!

Thought for the month: "Education is the most powerful weapon you can use to change the world." - Nelson Mandela RDH

This month's INeedCE course is "Getting the Most Out of Ultrasonic Scaling: A Guide to Maximizing Efficacy." Using code AM515, readers will receive a 50% discount - regular course fee $59 with code, $29.50.

Getting the Most Out of Ultrasonic Scaling: A Guide to Maximizing Efficacy

Powered instruments have been part of dental hygiene treatment since the late 1950s. Over time, new and innovative improvements to the equipment and tip designs have made ultrasonic scaling easier and more effective. Today's patients are in need of the highest level of therapeutic hygiene services available. With the reciprocal link between periodontal disease and several known systemic diseases, dental health-care providers need to be knowledgeable about current treatment modalities and the evidence that supports them. This course is designed to aid the clinician in making instrument decisions to improve the quality of hygiene treatment provided to the patient.

ANN-MARIE C. DEPALMA, RDH, MEd, FADIA, FAADH, is a Fellow of the American Academy of Dental Hygiene and the Association of Dental Implant Auxiliaries, as well as a continuous member of ADHA. She presents continuing education programs for dental team members on a variety of topics. Ann-Marie is collaborating with several authors on various books for dental hygiene and can be reached at [email protected].