Dental hygienists, don’t ever let a bad day keep you down

RECENTLY, I HAD ONE OF MY WORST DENTAL HYGIENE WORK DAYS EVER. I have been a dental hygienist for the past 12 years, so I feel like that is saying a lot. And of course, I didn’t even see it coming. We all have our good and bad days in dental hygiene, but this nightmarish day was definitely an experience I won’t be forgetting anytime soon. It made me like I was drowning in a sea of patients and I had no clue what to do to keep my head above water.
My schedule was jam-packed from the start, and our only dental assistant went home sick after her first patient micro motor. This meant we all had to pitch in to help the dentist with cleaning rooms and processing instruments for the remainder of the day. I wasn’t even feeling up to the challenge, but I knew the team needed me.
The morning was filled with one difficult patient after another, from heavy stain to tenacious calculus buildup. I felt like very few of these patients were being receptive to any of my suggestions concerning their oral hygiene. (Then, interestingly enough, I did have a new patient that was extremely receptive to my recommendation, and as a result had a lot of questions concerning her gum health and home-care instructions.) I felt like I was treading rough water and getting nowhere fast Dental Chair.
As the day progressed, I was getting further and further behind on my schedule. In the back of my mind, I kept thinking, “How could I possibly end up with such a horrific schedule?” For the most part, I schedule my own patients, so in a way I must have set myself up for disaster. Trying to keep a positive outlook, I was really hoping that the afternoon would turn around. Usually when I have a rough morning, the rest of the day seems to go much smoother.
My situation did not get any better after lunch micro motors australia. I had an adult patient with a full set of braces who didn’t want to stop texting, even after I told her that I needed her to put her phone down. Then, my next patient was her 5-year-old daughter who decided that she didn’t want to get her teeth cleaned because “it was no fun.” The girl’s mother said that said it wasn’t a big deal, because she only had “baby teeth.” I proceeded to explain why baby teeth are important. The mother seemed receptive to my explanation, but I failed to get the girl to cooperate with any part of the treatment. I felt totally defeated.
At the point, my muscles were really starting to tense up, and I was wondering how I was going to make it through the rest of that day. Usually I can find a few minutes to do some quick stretches, but unfortunately there was no time to spare as I was still behind on my schedule. I literally forced myself to keep going through the pain, which is something I don’t recommend to any hygienist.
My last patient that day was a 12-year-old girl who looked like she had not brushed for a month. As I was trying to give her oral hygiene instructions, I could tell that she was not even listening. For a moment, in my exhaustion, I wondered if the effort on my part was even worth it. It was the classic dilemma of the hygienist caring more for the patient’s mouth than the person in the chair. But of course, I persevered on and changed my approach hoping that I got through to her on some level.
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