Perio arsenal: Course by Amber Auger creates awareness of instruments for periodontal treatment

Ann-Marie DePalma, RDH, profiles a seminar presented by Amber Auger, RDH, on instruments for periodontal treatment.

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Course by Amber Auger, RDH, helps created awareness of instruments for periodontal treatment

Ann-Marie DePalma

Hygienists graduate from hygiene school with a vast array of current skills and knowledge. Once in the real world of dental hygiene, they rely on the instruments and products that they learned about in school. However, over the years products and technologies change, and sometimes despite maintaining their required continuing education credits, hygienists stick with the "tried and true" ways they originally learned.

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Amber Auger, RDH, MPH

Yet, as hygienists, our mission is to provide the best care possible for patients, and being current with the use of products, instruments, and technologies is vital to our mission. Amber Auger, RDH, MPH, after having worked in multiple offices and establishing periodontal protocols in all of them, found that many teams don't understand the importance of being current with all available treatment modalities, products, and technologies. She developed the workshop, "From Pocket to Pathogens: Maximize Technology for Optimal Periodontal Therapy Success" to address such issues.

Her program:

  • Discusses an overview of the pathogens that cause periodontal disease and how these can affect systemic health.
  • Incorporates a systemic risk assessment analysis for periodontal-susceptible patients.
  • Reviews various technological advances, including voice-activated periodontal charting systems.
  • Reviews current hand and power instruments for providing optimum care.
  • Discusses intraoral camera use and tips for quality radiographic images.
  • Explains the use of probiotics and xylitol products in maintaining health.
  • Provides hygienists with leadership skills to create a healthy, happy practice.

During the program hygienists learn how to become educated consumers of the products. Amber begins with a PowerPoint lecture format, then moves the presentation to actually using the products she discusses. Dental professionals often work with products but don't know the appropriate protocols for optimum results. Amber's program enables all learning styles to understand each product, how to use it, and how to implement it chairside.

She presents the clinical research on the products in a fun, understandable way so that participants can discuss the products and technologies with patients in a way that will increase patient compliance. Amber's goal is to help hygienists use the latest technologies and products with great confidence, whether they're new graduates or seasoned professionals.

Amber has a bachelor's degree in dental hygiene from the University of New Haven, and a master's in public health from the University of New England. She struggled throughout her educational endeavors, and was finally diagnosed with a learning disability in hygiene school. Once she discovered how she needed to learn, she excelled. Because of her experiences, she has developed a presentation style that allows hygiene students and clinicians to learn in the best way for them.

Amber grew up with a single mom who did not want Amber to struggle financially. In sixth grade, Amber's class heard a lecture about teeth. She knew from that moment that dentistry would be her career path. She originally planned on becoming a dentist, but after completing her dental hygiene education, she didn't want to take on another round of student debt, nor was she enthusiastic about holding a drill.

Amber describes herself as enthusiastic, captivating, and resilient. If she were not a hygienist, Amber pictures herself as a physician's assistant. She enjoys giving back and loves traveling abroad to provide dental services to the underserved. She has participated in overseas mission programs through www.mission.me. She is a spinning instructor and enjoys outdoor cycling.

Amber is an ADHA member, and the lack of mentorship between dentists and hygienists concerns her. She is very grateful for the mentorship of her first dentist employer, Dr. Tony Lepore, who changed her life by taking the time to teach her. Dr. Lepore would bring in articles for Amber to read and would explain various procedures to her. She loved working with him and has never had an employer who mentored and valued her as he did.

Amber feels her greatest accomplishment in dental hygiene is the ability to change patients' lives. Oftentimes the one-hour appointment becomes a therapy session, and she loves having patients who feel like family. She feels that having a master's degree allows her to impact her community at a higher level. Her least favorite thing about being a continuing education speaker is the travel and traffic. She was once on a plane for three hours with turbulence the entire flight, followed by a cab ride that was stop and go the entire trip. When she finally arrived at the venue, she managed to present even though she was nauseated the entire program!

Amber's infectious energy is exhilarating and promotes learning. She is currently employed in a Boston practice and is a practice advisor for Jameson Management.

To learn more about Amber and her programs, contact amberaugerrdh@gmail.com.

Thought for the month:

"By changing nothing, nothing changes." -Tony RobbinsRDH


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 amrdh@aol.com.

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