I am writing in response to Dr. Neiburger`s letter, "A matter of economics." He has managed to insult hygienists and individuals graduating from a preceptorship program simultaneously. Congratulations!
The preceptorship program was born from an unequal supply/demand ratio (as Dr. Neiburger states). But why? Dental hygiene schools are closing, and dental hygienists are turning to other careers. It`s not because we don`t work hard enough, fast enough, or "conduct ourselves professionally" enough. As for dentists doing "high-speed, quality prophys," don`t you see the contradiction?
Now this statement still has me reeling: "Scraping teeth requires no exceptional skills." Apparently Dr. Neiburger has never had a 3:45 p.m. patient on nitrous (and not having the desired effect), so extremely sensitive that she jumps when you retract her cheek with a mirror, and next you must attempt to remove chunks of subcalculus from beneath her severely inflammed tissue using a curette and a sickle. And this takes no exceptional skill? You have also insulted the patient, because they do recognize skilled hands.
In my office, hygienists are paid a base salary plus a percentage of commission. The receptionist gets a bonus if the hygiene schedule is full. We are all motivated to provide quality care so that our patients will return and refer other patients. Build a good practice by setting high standards, and they will come.
May I recommend a career change for Dr. Neiburger? As a Marine Corps drill sergeant, you could make your platoon efficient, productive and, just think, in a fight with the boss, you will always win!
Melissa Palmer, RDH
Mountain View, California