Th 2101rdhary1

It was 20 years ago today RDH came out to play

Jan. 1, 2001
During the month the world mourned the death of former Beatle John Lennon, something else happened: A printing press churned out the first copies of RDH magazine. When January 1981 arrived, RDH introduced itself to thousands of new friends. We're still doing it, enjoying a special, 20-year bond with the profession.

Editor's Note: The timeline below observes some historical markers in the history of RDH magazine, as well as some funny, sad, or other noteworthy moments. What it does not adequately reflect are the estimated 1,200 feature articles and 1,000 columns that have been printed. These articles were the backbone of the magazine, serving to encourage personal and career growth among hygienists. RDH remains grateful for the efforts of the many authors contributing to the magazine since its beginning in 1981.

January 1981

Quote of the era
Irene Woodall, the magazine's original editor, stated in her first column in January 1981: "The purpose of this professional magazine is to help you enjoy your unique position as a hygienist by hearing from your colleagues across the country as they describe their experiences, and to provide you with ideas and self-help tools for professional and personal growth." Some things never change.
Way back when
RDH asked readers (presumably in a direct-mail questionnaire, since the first issue had not been published) about what they would change about the profession. The comments included the following:
  • Two of the readers believed "independent practice" was necessary. Janay Bongiorno of Michigan observed, "Though the hygienist must be able to call upon the dentist to perform his professional services for her patients, she does not need to practice under his financial jurisdiction."
  • Lynda Sabat of Cleveland, Ohio, noted: "The dentist is concerned with the economics of his practice and often finds it advantageous to hire a recent graduate who will work for a lower salary than a more experienced hygienist."
  • Marsha Bennett of Illinois wrote: "Our goal is not to do as many prophys as we can. After several years of an endless succession of prophys, one finds oneself trapped in a career that lacks both fulfillment and inspiration."
  • Tina Weil of Idaho pointed out: "The basic problem, I think, is that employers feel the salary of the hygienist is higher than most occupations, so our employee benefits should be limited."

Some things never change.

What was different?
What's different about the first issue of RDH? OSHA - or more specifically, infection control - was still a gleam in some bureaucrat's eyes. Two advertisers - A-dec and Kerr - depicted hygiene treatment without any protective wear. In addition, fingernails, watches, and rings were quite visible in clinical photographs accompanying two articles.
Most interesting trivia
RDH conducted an interview with Woodall for the first issue - complete with the Playboy-like trio of black-and-white photos and quotes on the first page. The magazine's first question to Woodall was to find out why she chose the profession as her career.

She answered, "My direct response is family pressure. It was important to my parents that I have some sort of profession or trade so that I would never have to be totally dependent upon a husband. I've heard many of my colleagues describe their career choice as 'something to fall back on if my husband turns out to be an alcoholic.' Dental hygiene became the logical choice for my parents to suggest to me..."

Those Arizona ladies
Only two people on the original "staff box" (a listing of personnel and advisers who are responsible for putting together a magazine) are still in the staff boxes for the 2001 issues. Trisha O'Hehir and Cindy Kleiman, both from Arizona, have advised RDH magazine on numerous matters since the beginning. O'Hehir, who was listed as being from Port Townsend, Wash., in the first issue, eventually started writing the "Periodontics" column and manages the newsletter Perio Reports from her current headquarters in Flagstaff.

Naomi Rhode, the co-founder of SmartPractice in Arizona, was also on the first editorial board. She recently "retired" from RDH to spend more time with her grandchildren.

Advertising trivia
The most coveted (and most expensive locations) positions for advertising are the covers and the inside pages adjacent to them. The "cover" advertisers for the first issue were Lever Brothers (promoting the DX toothbrush), Block Drug (Sensodyne), and American Dental Mfg. Co. (an instrument company later absorbed by Hu-Friedy).

May/June 1981

Quote of the month
Irene Woodall, in her editorial, discussed the controversy generated by "independent practice." One comment that's still true today was, "Independence is a red flag word. For some, it spells the annihilation of the dental team and the loss of what hygienists have tried to build with dentistry for decades. They see independence as severing ties that are important for the well-being of patient and cutting off critical resources for the continuing professional development of hygienists."
Heeeere's Trisha
RDH published an interview with Linda Krol, a California independent contactor. This is where Trisha O'Hehir's name appears for the first time. O'Hehir conducted the interview wiith Krol, and they talked about the legal difficulties of practicing independently.
I am woman
A company called RPD Enterprises offered jewelry and trinkets of a professional nature. For example, the initials of "RDH" and "DDS" were offered in 14k gold pins. The male and female symbols were included in the jewelry and placed below the initials. Back in the Dark Ages, patients had a difficult time distinguishing between male and female hygienists.
Favorite headline
"The Sugarplum Fairy and the Twin Sweetsters" was the title of an article written by Patricia Randolph. She wrote about nonsucrose sweeteners as a part of nutritional counseling.

July/August 1981

1981: The 'cap' appeared on two covers
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Sign of the times
In an advertisement, Hu-Friedy offered booklets on instrument care. RDH readers could obtain all three for the "price of a stamp." The stamp held in the hand depicted in the ad was for 18 cents..
It's a guy thing
RDH's first reference to male hygienists was an interview with James Kohs, who talked about dental hygiene in the military.
Quote of the month
An article about dental hygiene educators by Mindy Adshead started off: "I knew I wanted to become a dental hygiene educator ever since I was knee-high to a Wilkins textbook."

September-December 1981

Hat's off to you
The September/October cover was the first one to show a hygienist wearing the "cap." The only other time a cover model wore the hygiene cap was in September/October 1982. There's something about Halloween...
I forgot it
The November/December cover was the first one to show a model who was not wearing a dental hygiene pin on her blouse. Presumably, she forgot to wear it to work. So did most of the subsequent cover models. Did you forget to wear your pin today?
The Asian rebel
The magazine's interview in the November/December issue was with March Fong Eu, the first reference to an Asian-American hygienist. Eu was a political activist from California who, among other things, forced Texas hygienists to allow African-American hygienists to join the state dental hygiene association.


Dear Abby
Regina Dreyer Thomas began writing her "Dear RDH" column, where she dispensed advice for more than a decade.
Quote of the year
In the July/August issue, Mary Martha Stevens (an editorial board member who took many of the photographs appearing in the first issues of the magazine, as well as briefly writing the Fit to Work column in the 1990s) interviewed Sally West, a dental hygiene educator and ADHA president from Kansas. West explained how she obtained a two-year degree from a Florida community college and then happily immersed herself into private practice. Her entrance back into education began with a telephone call from Armstrong State College.

West recalls, "They wanted me to be the first person to get a bachelor's degree in dental hygiene education. She [the caller] said, 'There will be three faculty and you.' And I said, 'Well, it will be real hard for me to cut class, won't it?' "

The red album
Johnson & Johnson featured an ad on bright red paper that contained nothing but the following headline: "Announcing new added protection for your caries-susceptible patients." The company wanted to ensure that hygienists were aware of ACT fluoride rinse before the product was introduced to consumers later that fall. It was the first time an RDH advertiser alerted readers about a new consumer product before release.
Most well-traveled
In the November/December issue, RDH first published articles about practicing abroad. The editors did it with a bang, too, featuring separate articles on Switzerland, Israel, Italy, and Australia.


The first dog
In the January/February issue, Paula Drew wrote about periodontal care for dogs, and the photograph accompanying the article was of the author and her Dalmatian. Rex was the first dog to appear in RDH. It was a just reward, since he also posed for the "clinical" photographs about veterinary dentistry.
Oddest photograph
In the May/June issue, Virginia Goral wrote about personality clashes among staff members. The article was a reminder of how far graphic design has progressed. The photograph was of two women scowling at each other. But they had no legs. The legs were not cropped out by the article, headlines, etc. The eye scans down the models' heads, crossed arms, bottom of scrubs ellipse and then nothing. Small wonder staff members were grouchy back then!
In the July/August issue, an article about Kentucky hygienists struggling to have a hygienist included on the state's board of dentistry marked the first time RDH covered a specific political event. Janella Spencer, the KDHA's legislative chairperson, outlined how the association bombarded every legislator with teams of hygienists.
Quote of the year
For a few issues, RDH invited readers to share their "special experience" with other readers. Typically, the anecdotes reflected warm, touching encounters with patients - often children.

But in the September/October issue, Carol-Ann Stentiford of Connecticut talked about an "elderly gentleman" who was one of her patients. If you were not an adult in 1983, you may not realize that the following anecdote would not have been politically incorrect back then.

This 80-something patient always said visiting Stentiford was one of his greatest pleasures, and he would spend "an hour getting ready" for the hygiene appointment. The only pleasure better was beer.

Stentiford wrote, "One day before his appointment, his niece, our receptionist, and I cooled a can of beer. Before his appointment, I prepared the room before bringing him in. I worked until he wanted to rinse. He picked up his cup, took a mouthful, but, unlike his previous habit of quickly expectorating, he held the liquid in his mouth for several seconds. Finally, very slowly, he emptied his mouth. He looked at me and we both started laughing."


1984: The covers started displaying more artistic themes than the 'mug shots' of the first three years.
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Lurking diseases
Perhaps the first, prominent recognition of infectious occupational diseases in RDH was a two-page advertisement by Merck, Sharp, & Dohme in the May/June issue. The photograph showed a dental office door with the sign, "Closed until further notice." The company advised dental professionals to get vaccinated against hepatitis B.
The voice of hygiene
In the September/October issue, the magazine interviewed Cynthia Noonan, then the manager of professional programs at Oral-B. In the same issue, Oral-B announced the creation of a dental hygiene advisory board in response to hygienists who thought the profession needed a larger presence among manufacturers. The first board consisted of Patricia Phagan, Michele Darby, Adele Eberhart, Ulana Cirincione, Virginia Goral, and Linda Krol.


Lurking diseases, part II
The first full-length RDH feature article devoted to treatment of patients with AIDS appeared in March. The article noted that researchers projected that it would be 10 years or more before a cure to AIDS would be found. Perhaps the biggest "false alarm" about the article was the statement, "While dental professionals should not deny treatment to any patients, the potential dental and medical problems, in association with the stringent sterilization procedures that must be followed, suggests that dental treatment for AIDS patients might best be carried out in a hospital setting." Such editorial coverage (herpes was the topic in the April issue) also led to more advertising of infection control products by manufacturers.
Quote of the year
In the September issue, Trisha O'Hehir made her first plea in RDH for dry-brushing. She wrote, "I have some patients who are so skilled with dental floss that they can pass the floss through each interproximal area without even touching the plaque." She also noted that her patients followed home care instructions perfectly for brushing too. Toothpaste, she argued, lulled patients into "daydreams" which end after 45 seconds. Unfortunately, so did the brushing.


Your values
RDH published a "values survey" in the March/April 1986 issue. Readers were asked to agree or disagree with 58 statements. The three statements that readers most strongly agreed with in 1986 were:
  • I am proud of what I do for my patients.
  • Dental hygiene needs to take control of its destiny.
  • We need to have the freedom to practice the full range of skills that have been shown in research to be safely provided by dental hygienists.

The three statements that readers most strongly disagreed with were:

  • We should trust [organized] dentistry to take care of us.
  • Dental hygiene should stick to clinical issues and continued excellence of service and forget "change."
  • I think of myself as a "girl" rather than a "woman."
1986: The magazine celebrated its 5th anniversary.
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An Alty start
Without question, Regina Dreyer Thomas was the most prolific author for RDH during the 1980s. Cathleen Terhune Alty, however, turned out to be the magazine's busiest author during the magazine's second decade. In the July/August issue, the magazine published Alty's first article - a discussion of the "alphabet soup" known as insurance plans. She later appeared with her two children, Tom and Samantha, on the August 1991 cover.
Quote of the year
In the November/December issue, Irene Woodall commented in her editorial about a new Colorado law that permits hygienists to practice independently. Despite the law, lawsuits were still attempting to take it away. One lawsuit asserted that independent hygienists placed patients who require antibiotic premedication at risk.

Woodall retorted, "If your recollections of dental hygiene school are as clear as mine, you remember the hours spent discussing how to record and interpret a health history ellipse Certainly the issue of premedication to prevent subacute bacterial endocarditis was emblazoned on your brain as it was mine. It was a giant red flag waving each time questions regarding rheumatic fever or heart murmur were asked. What amazes me is that the ADA doesn't know we have learned all that. The requirement to learn how to take and interpret a health history can be found in the ADA Commission requirements for dental hygiene education programs."


My, what sharp teeth you have, grandma
The Squibb Corp. introduced its Woog Orasystem in the March issue. The two-page advertisement featured a tiger on one page, and, on the right-hand page, the headline declared, "If your patients ate like he did, they wouldn't need the Woog Orasystem."

The text for the ad started off, "If your patients ate raw meat and chewed bones as a regular part of their diets, you could be sure their teeth and supporting periodontium were getting a healthy workout."

Yeah, but what does the editor think?
For the first six years, Irene Woodall's editorials were the only comments offered by the magazine's editors. In the April issue, Sandra Pemberton started writing her "Viewpoint" - a tradition that continues today with Mark Hartley's Editor's Note. Ironically, the first one promoted the very first salary survey in the magazine.
Quote of the year
The June issue advised readers to get ready for that newfangled thing that maybe, just maybe, might become a part of a dental practice - the computer. The authors noted, "For the last couple of years, the 'hot items' exhibited at most dental conventions have been computers. Generally, they've been way too expensive for the average dental practice. Now, some are down around the price of good X-ray equipment, and your dental office may be looking into purchasing one ellipse Most of us have no knowledge of the inner workings of a computer - in fact, the idea of operating one scares the heck out of a lot of us."
What pretty teeth you have, grandma
The September issue, starting with its cover of an attractive woman holding various makeup items and a toothbrush, was the first to tout "cosmetic dentistry." Drs. John Saunders and Ronald Goldstein explained how new restorative procedures were radically changing the appearances of patients.
The shrink has left the building
Maureen Lassen, a clinical psychologist who had written about everything from stress relief to homosexuality since the inaugural issue, wrote her last "Your Self" column in the September issue. She reappeared in January 1989 for a brief stint with the "Mind" column.
Who's that guy? (part 1)
In May 1985, Stevens Publishing, the publishers of RDH, hired Mark Hartley to work on a publication geared for dentists. Although he proofread the articles appearing in RDH, he remained in an uncredited role until the October 1987 issue, when he received a byline for an article titled, "Dentists voice their opinions." Because of his connections with dentists, he sought out the viewpoints of doctors about independent practice. His name became a permanent fixture in the April 1989 issue when he was listed as the magazine's fifth editorial director - a title he still retains today.


A fond farewell
Sandra Pemberton, the editor from 1983 to 1988, said in her March 1988 farewell Viewpoint: "I can't think of anything I would have wanted to do more as a journalist than to have edited this publication during its fledgling growth." A widow, Pemberton relocated to South Carolina to be with her new husband.
1988: the male hygienist is a fake, but at least it's a guy.
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There's a man at the door
During the late 1980s, RDH switched back from tasteful illustrations on its covers to photographs. The trend was for the photograph to suggest a theme that would be discussed in the articles inside a particular issue. The models typically were not actual hygienists. Nevertheless, a male model appeared on the cover of RDH for the first time in April 1988. Other male models had posed - usually with female models - to denote such topics as managing dual careers with a spouse. But the implication here was that the model was a male hygienist.

The article by Regina Dreyer Thomas, of course, discussed how male hygienists find the profession to be "rewarding" too. One of her sources, Robert Nelson, said, "I find being in a female-dominated profession quite enjoyable. For one thing, the scenery's a lot prettier."

How did the crystal ball work out?
RDH asked Linda Miles, one of the profession's most enduring consultants, about what dental hygiene would be like in the year 2000. In the December issue, she predicted:
  • "Preventive fees will double by 2000."
  • "Many hygienists will have attempted the independent practice route only to have found ... alienation from the dental profession."
  • "The hygiene facility will be attached, yet separate, much like the atriums on restaurants and hotel lobbies."
  • "With increasing numbers of HMOs and PPOs, dentists will seek entry-level hygienists to work at lower salaries on these prepaid patients."
  • "All confirmations will be done automatically the day before the appointment by a computer telephone system, much like current wakeup calls of modern hotels."


Have child, will pose
RDH featured hygienist Shelli Hinkson and daughter Hannah on the cover of the January issue - the first time the magazine featured a parent/RDH with her child.
Joen with an 'e'
Dr. Joen Haring penned her first Case Study in the January issue. A "35-year old Caucasian female" was diagnosed with recurrent herpes labialis. Approximately 132 lesions later, Dr. Haring is still keeping oral pathology at the forefront.
Behind the mask
Dr. Chris Miller, author of the Infection Control column, wrote a two-part series on "instrument recirculation." The first part appeared in the April issue, and his recommendations on infection control have appeared in every issue since.
Back when we were behind bars
Laura Albrecht, who was the editor from 1987 to 1991, spent two days in prison as part of a June feature article about dental hygienists who treat incarcerated inmates. Although "anti-social behavior" was a characteristic of inmates who were locked up, the hygienists interviewed felt reasonably safe about their occupations. The director of the dental program told Albrecht, "There has been no physical confrontation between an inmate and any dental services employee. Based on history, it is not a high-risk occupation as far as physical confrontations."
Quote of the year
Oklahoma dentists bemoaned an effort to make CPR training mandatory for dental hygienists, saying the requirement would be more leverage among hygienists who sought autonomy.

Senior Editor Irene Woodall likewise bemoaned in her August Commentary, "The question for me is how are we going to get out of the bog of eternal distrust? How can we engage in a meaningful dialogue that does not turn into a father-daughter argument?"

Got dairy?
The National Dairy Board published an ad in RDH with the headline: "Brush, floss & dairy for a lifetime of dental health." The photograph was of a medicine cabinet. The top shelf contained the usual assortment of dental care supplies found in homes. The rest of the space was dominated by Swiss cheese, cottage cheese, whipped cream, cheddar cheese, ice cream, and, of course, milk. We're guessing that most converts to the suggestion of the ad mistakenly reached for the ice cream instead of the floss.


Peel it off
Although magazine advertising gimmicks have always been eye-catching, RDH advertisers were not particularly adventurous in the 1980s - although Premier did intentionally publish an ad upside down on the RDH back cover for a few issues. Warner Lambert, however, introduced the peel-off effect in the August issue. The top photograph was somewhat obscured through a digitizing effect. When readers peeled off the top layer, they found a much clearer photograph of Listerine.

Other noteworthy campaigns included Oral-B's "We should have our head examined" ad and Den-Mat's pronouncements about Rembrandt that featured attractive models in posters.

Quote of the year
In September, Regina Dreyer Thomas wrote about various "dental" families who have more than one family member working in the profession. A hygienist named Carol Hosier told Dreyer that she started out as an assistant in her father's practice.

Hosier said, "My pay, as a child, was a hamburger and fries at my favorite snack stand down the street." Who says dentists don't look for ways to reduce labor overhead?

Who's that guy (part II)
In December, the "staff box" listed 57 names of personnel and advisers associated with RDH. A new name and phone number appeared fourth from the bottom. Although the phone company changed the area code a few years ago, Craig Dickson's phone number ironically remains the same in 2001. Dickson started out in advertising sales and became the magazine's publisher last year.


1991: The first dentist/hygienist/ husband/wife team on the cover.
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Quote of the year
In January, Cathleen Alty interviewed several dentist/hygienist spouses on what it's like to work together. The related photograph was the first time that a husband/wife team appeared on the cover of the magazine. One hygienist told Alty, "I swore I'd never marry a dentist. Then I swore I'd never work for him! I guess it's true that you should never say never."
I need something to write with
Hu-Friedy's "Stop writing dirty notes" ad campaign was about an instrument with a periodontal probe on one end of the instrument and a ballpoint pen on the other end. The Pen-Probe was advertised as a way to avoid cross contamination, ensuring "you will never write another dirty note."
Back from the brink
In April, Ann Schlipf wrote about her almost fatal experiences in grappling with bulimia. Her photo appeared on the cover and the second paragraph was lifted to appear on the cover too: "I am a dental hygienist. I am also a perfectionist. I almost died from the disease of bulimia. This is my story."
Trisha every month
After 10 years of sporadic feature articles and serving as a consulting editor, Trisha O'Hehir began her "Periodontics" column in the September issue. Her first topic was smoking and its relationship to periodontal disease. In the same issue, RDH introduced Kathy Witherspoon as the editor, a position she held until 1995.


Do they ride motorcycles and wear leather jackets?
One of the more intriguing opening paragraphs of an article appeared in March 1992. Corinne Groark wrote, "Wild patients. They don't use a napkin when they eat, they sleep most of the day, they don't get haircuts, they don't pay any bills, they don't brush their teeth, and some are known to prowl at night."

The article was a profile of Susan Spier, a hygienist who treated patients that fit the preceding description - residents of the Potawatomi Zoo in South Bend, Ind.

Oddest photograph
Taking a page from the Flintstones, Pascal had a hygienist dressed as a cave woman standing beside a stone television. The hygienist pointed to the "screen," which showed her administering "fluoride" treatment to a cave man with what looked like an animal's bone. Or maybe it was a dinosaur. The TV set even had a set of antlers serving as an antenna. With the ad, Pascal wanted to know why readers were still doing fluoride treatments "the old-fashioned way."
Quote of the year
In her August Commentary, Irene Woodall wrote about visiting a colleague who had a sign outside of the hygiene operatory. The sign contained a caricature of an uniformed hygienist who held a mop, and the sign announced, "The Cleaning Room." Woodall's reaction was "instant distaste" and wrote, "The obvious reason [for her negative reaction] is that showing a hygienist with a mop is antithetical to presenting dental hygiene as a profession. Dentists do not take kindly to being compared to workers drilling into boards, and surgeons would not position themselves holding a saw."


1993: Trisha O'Hehir appears on the cover. Inside, another photo shows her hanging by a rope from one of the peaks in the Alps.
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Our saddest hour
On January 1, Senior Editor Irene Woodall suffered a crippling aneurysm and associated stroke while vacationing in Colorado. In her last Commentary for RDH, she wrote, "I love being around people who have vitality." The hygiene profession has missed her vitality.
Take a Biron in emergencies
Cynthia Biron began writing her "Pharmacology" column (later renamed "Medical Alert") in January. Her first topic was on the antibiotic erythromycin. She wrote the column six times every year until 2000.
Kids in February
With its cover photo and articles by Cathleen Alty and Calvert Cazier, RDH began devoting its February issues to pediatric topics, coinciding with National Children's Dental Health Month. Previous articles on pediatric hygiene tended to appear more randomly, but, since 1993, the magazine has dedicated February to the kids.
What's Up, Doc?
Johnson & Johnson introduced its SofLoop masks ("The most fitting mask for almost every ear"). Five photos showed health-care professionals modeling the different masks. There was a sixth photograph, showing nothing but a pair of rabbit's ears. The caption read, "Silly rabbit ellipse not with those ears."


Quote of the year
A January profile of Joyce Reedy, a Colorado hygienist who practices independently, referred to a quote by Thomas Paine that decorates Reedy's office. Paine wrote: "What we obtain too lightly, we esteem too lightly; it is dearness only that gives everything its value."
Time to chant my death song?
In May, RDH published an article describing the "alter egos" of hygienists - occupations or hobbies pursued in another, nondental life. One hygienist, Ann Marie Pacer, was a funeral director in her New York hometown. She told RDH, "I had a woman come in the office and realized I looked familiar. I told her I was a licensed hygienist and not to worry. I would not confuse the two jobs."


A change of address
During the summer, RDH moved up Interstate 35 from Waco, Texas, to Tulsa, Oklahoma. Stevens Publishing, the founder of RDH, sold the magazine to PennWell Publishing, which also publishes Dental Economics. Marc Scheiner, the publisher, observed, "RDH represents a logical extension of PennWell's franchise into the dental marketplace."
A different kind of address
In September, RDH published its first article about dental professionals and the Internet. Linda Rusack, a hygienist from Rhode Island, wrote the article. At the end of every article, RDH publishes a "bionote," which is a brief biographical statement about the author. Rusack's bionote contained her e-mail address - the first time an author's e-mail address appeared with an article.
Uh, about nine years from now
JoAnn Gurenlian, in the December issue, checked her crystal ball and made some predictions about dental hygiene in 2010. She wrote, for example, "Many individuals will conduct oral cancer self-examinations on a regular basis at home. Thanks to advances in genetic engineering, they will also conduct at-home caries and periodontal disease activity tests, contacting the hygienist when their pathogenic organism levels have increased." Let's see, there's nine years left; any chance the prediction will come true?


Someone is having too much fun
Headlines for the February, April, and March issues included: "On Microbial Pond;" "Sir, your breath is regulated by the United Nations;" "How I spent my simple youth training to become a chimpanzee that scrubs teeth;" "When wandering here, do not pack curling iron;" and "Little red wagons aside, symposium ponders the 'valid' outcomes of periodontal research." The latter refers to a meeting attended by Trisha O'Hehir. Several government bureaucracies were present, and they all discussed how clinical trials for new products should proceed. O'Hehir wrote, "Had the books of rules and regulations been presented to symposium participants, we would have needed little red wagons to carry them around!"


If it's mauve, it's Cathy
Cathy Hester Seckman, a hygienist who switched to journalism before returning to hygiene, writes several articles a year for RDH. Her efforts for the magazine began in earnest during 1997, including two features about working as a temporary and working part-time. About the former, she wrote in March, "It's necessary to be flexible about what you require (as a temp). Once I walked into an operatory and couldn't find a bracket tray. 'A what?' the young assistant asked blankly. 'Where can I lay out my instruments?' 'Oh, we just use these.' She pulled a paper towel off a roll and laid it on the counter next to the sink."

About the latter, she wrote in July, "Sometimes you might wonder whether it's a good idea to bounce around so much. When you wake up in the morning, maybe you lie there in bed, unable to decide whether it's a mauve day or a Caribbean-blue one; and think how silly it is to try to juggle your professional life like this."

How to be nice
Another current, frequent RDH contributor, Joanne Iannone Sheehan, had her first articles published in the June and December issues. In the first article, the December Guest Commentary, she examined the "prima donna" stigma that plagues dental hygienists. One way to avoid it, Sheehan wrote, is to be scale back (pun intended) on the attitude taken with dental assistants. She quoted one assistant who got along with the office's hygienists as saying, "None of our hygienists thinks she's God!"


How many hygienists does it take to change a lightbulb?
In September, Judith Sulik wrote about Nick Timko of New York. Timko's life story includes a 24-year chapter where he was a mechanical engineer at IBM. After corporate restructuring occurred one day, IBM didn't have a job for him anymore. So Timko eventually became a hygienist, and his engineering degree proved helpful. "Every time something breaks, I'm asked to fix it," he told Sulik. "I've repaired all kinds of dental equipment - the vacuum system, the office computer, and even the telephone. Now I'm working on a new computer system for the practice." - 1988: The male hygienist is a fake, but at least it's a guy.IMG SRC="icons/ogj/2101rdhary4.eps">
Quote of the year
In the October issue, RDH published the "state of mind" survey. A series of serious, thought-provoking questions asked readers how they felt about their career choice. In a change of pace, the last question was light-hearted. After scanning a list of celebrities, readers were asked which celebrity they "wished would be their next patient." The list included George Clooney, Mel Gibson, and Denzel Washington, among others. One reader just responded, "I don't care what he looks like as long as he's compliant and has a healthy mouth." Amen.


Dear Dianne
In the January issue, Dianne Glasscoe began writing her Staff Rx column - essentially an "advice" column where readers inquire about a variety of issues affecting them and dental offices.
Is this a chick flick?
Gayle Lawrence conducts tours to exotic locations for hygienists. There's a certain amount of, uh, soul-searching going on during these trips. In the February issue, she wrote the following about a trip where she swam with the dolphins.

"In the water, beside me on my right, was a single female dolphin. As she took a breath of fresh air and dove underwater, I did the same. What followed was the profound experience I had asked for. As we dove side by side, she pulled ahead of me, as gracefully as a ballerina. She rolled over on her back and came face to face with me. I found myself gazing directly into her eyes. The emotional impact and love I felt was overwhelming. I could not hold back the tears. They say the eyes are the window to the soul; that is where she touched me."

Quote of the year
In the May issue, Mary Martha Stevens sought out the expertise of Loretta Seidl, who has built a career focusing on dental treatment for senior citizens. Seidl's parting words to readers were, "We need to be patient with seniors. We need to take time to be with them. Don't rush them when they come into the dental office. Hold their hands, look into their eyes, and listen to their stories. They have so much wisdom to share."


A time to quit
In March, Joanne Sheehan wrote a light-hearted approach to deciding about the best time to retire. The article included 10-step "quizzes" for both doctors and hygienists. Our favorite reason for doctors to retire was: "You're having a hard time scheduling tee times. Your patients keep getting in the way." Our favorite reason for hygienists to retire was: "Your recare patient, Mr. Markus, age 82, invites you out on a date! You're a little flustered, and find out you can't retract the cheek with a scaler."
The proper perspective

In May, RDH profiled hygienists with unusual pastimes. One of them, Vicki Buchwald of Illinois, indulges in astronomy, and she wrote: "I tell patients how the telescope is similar to a time machine in that the light of the object you are looking at took tens or hundreds of thousands of years to reach us. Therefore, you see the object the way it was that many years ago."

A final stanza
In August, Joanne Sheehan paid tribute to Dr. Seuss with an article titled, "If I Ran This Zoo!" The final verse is:

When you would get home at a quarter to five,

A big feast would wait for you when you'd arrive

No mess to clean up and no dishes to do!

The children would do it, if I ran this zoo!