Reader's Forum

Sept. 1, 2003
I just finished reading "Dentistry at the Rooftop of the World" (July 2003). I was surprised at the modern equipment that was available to these wonderful volunteers.
Last Call for Your Opinion

The August 2003 issue contained a questionnaire for the 2003 RDH Salary & Benefits Survey. If you missed the opportunity to participate in the survey, RDH readers can still complete the online version of the questionnaire, which will remain open until September 26. Go to:

Hygiene outside the office

Dear RDH:
I just finished reading "Dentistry at the Rooftop of the World" (July 2003). I was surprised at the modern equipment that was available to these wonderful volunteers. Having been on a similar trip to Honduras in May of this year, I am all too familiar with the "spit bucket."

Our trip was more primitive in the dental setting. There were no power driven handpeices or suction units, and not a Cavitron to be found. All of our work was done with hand scaling — all extractions done without the aid of radiographs.

Our patients, just as those in Nepal, walked for miles and stood in line for hours to get into the clinic. It broke my heart to close the doors when there were still people waiting. But we had to leave the area before dusk for the saftey of all. Our team also provided medical exams, medications from our makeshift pharmacy, and optical exams and eyeglasses. Every child was treated for lice.

We had six nurses, one doctor, one pharmacist, one opthamologist, one hygienist, and two dentists. And there were 14 others who just wanted to help. I have never seen people giving of themselves so unconditionally. They left their families behind (some had never been out of Illinois) to provide a service to strangers — not concerned about their own needs or health risks that they may encounter. By the end of the four clinic days, we treated 2,041 patients.

I am in my 23rd year of clinical dental hygiene. Just writing that number seems unreal. My time in hygiene has passed so quickly. It hasn't been perfect; is any career? But it has provided me with so much more than a paycheck.

I'm extremely grateful for the wonderful people who have come into my life, the opportunity to share my skill with those who are in dire need. I've come home a much richer person than when I left. I will go back.

Korrie Slayter, RDH
Bartlett, Illinois

Softball isn't just for girls

Dear RDH:
I just read your Editor's Note in RDH (July 2003), "Softball is good for my health." I do not know much about the preceptorship in Alabama or the political battle over this controversy.

However, I do know about softball. I realize that the profession of dental hygiene is dominated by females, but there are a few males out here, and we would enjoy stepping up to the plate against the likes of the ALDA as well.

Lance Lehman, RDH
Spokane, Washington

Feeling the passion

Dear RDH:
There is always so much controversy regarding Alabama hygienists. Those hygienists claim to have a well-rounded education. I would like to a respond to the letter written by Micki Knox (June 2003).

While I feel it is important to further your higher education, it is equally important to have a passion for your profession. Ms. Knox obviously feels the passion or she would not have traveled to RDH Under One Roof in Las Vegas.

I hope she will be passionate enough to pursue a master's degree. Then, she will understand the passion those hygienists feel about their education.

At RDH Under One Roof in Chicago, I met hygienists from many states while I was staffing the membership table for IDHA. I did not know if they were from Alabama, or what degree they held. What I do know is that they love dental hygiene. And, love is a powerful emotion.

Yvette Walker, RDH
Rockford, Illinois

To submit letters to the editor for publication in Readers' Forum, send by:
• Mail — P.O. Box 3408, Tulsa, OK 74101
• E-mail — [email protected]
• Fax — (918) 831-9804
Besides a "signature," letters also must indicate the city and state where the writer resides or practices.