Dental Hygienist (Episode 126)

Dental Hygienist (Episode 126)

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Are you good at making people feel comfortable? Are you detail-oriented and like
working with your hands? There is one place you can put these skills to good use. And you get to give out free toothbrushes. Today’s guest is a dental hygienist. Hi. I’m Brian. Hi, Brian. Welcome to the clinic. My name’s Kelly. Let me show you around. Great. My name is Kelly Burrows. I’m a registered dental hygienist in Summerland, B.C. A dental hygienist is someone that looks inside your mouth to make sure your gums
and teeth are happy and healthy, and if we see things wrong, we help clear that up. There’s different phases of cleaning. We like to do a polish—that helps remove the stain— and then fluoride treatment
to help strengthen your teeth. And we’re educating and informing our
clients on how to keep a healthier smile. Typical hours in a dental clinic
is Monday to Friday, 8 to 5. Some offices realize and understand
that there is, uh, people out there who can’t take the time out of
their day to come during those typical hours. So, here at at my office, we
actually have hours ’til 8 at night. And we do work some Saturdays. I come in the morning, meet with my team and we sit down and go through our reports for
the day to see which clients we’re going to have, discuss what kind of treatment those patients will need for the day, and we bring them to the dental chair. So, what am I looking at here? This is one of my scalers.
It is a sharp instrument, obviously. It is used to remove plaque and tartar from your mouth. So, you’re really, really being sensitive to the touch, with tools as an extension of your finger.

That exactly. It is very important to be good
with their hands in this job because it’s all about touch, gentleness, using your instruments, doing what you need to do to make them the best, healthiest mouth as possible. To become a dental hygienist, you do need to take one year worth of prerequisites and then you
can apply for the dental hygiene program. There’s also some schools that do
a degree in dental hygiene, and you would just apply
for the program and do the degree. Once you become a dental hygienist, you have to apply with the province’s College of Dental Hygienists. Once you become registered with them, then you can practise as a registered dental hygienist. So, I have to admit that I am
a bit of a nervous dental client. Um, how do you fight that for a lot of people that are? If you don’t want to go on with treatment,
you let me know. If you’re uncomfortable with something, always let us know and we can
reschedule for another day. Okay, good. Good to know. But it starts as soon as people walk in the door. It’s really important to be good with people. You need the client to be comfortable in their chair. They’re fearful of being hurt. You don’t want that. You need them to feel comfortable right away. When I sit my client down,
I need to judge how they’re feeling. You can usually get a sense if
a client is feeling uncomfortable and possibly they have a
past history of high cavities risk. So, to read it all in the chart, see the X-rays, see all the clinical data you collected in the past, you can get a general sense
of how they’re feeling already. So, it seems like a big part of your job isn’t
just about performing tasks on clients. It’s about informing them
as to why you’re doing it. Yeah. Well, it’s really important to educate and tell our clients what we’re doing because it helps them, make them feel more
comfortable in the chair and at ease. That’s great. Technology has changed, so
we really can work with our clients. We have intraoral photos that we can take now, digital X-rays we can show our clients really fast. We’re getting them in on the process to let them see and know what’s going on in their mouth. The biggest misconception is… people don’t realize there’s a difference between a dental assistant and dental hygienist. The dental assistants usually, generally, they are providing four-handed dentistry to the dentist. And the dental hygienist works
on their own, in their own room. The advice I would give to someone
considering this field is, you’ve just got to be prepared to see anything. As a dental hygienist, when we’re trying to make the gums healthy and we’re removing bacteria, bleeding is always a process of that. I love this job because I am a clean freak, by nature, so this I get to do all day,
every day with my clients. Kelly, thank you so much for showing me around today. You’re very welcome, Brian.
Thank you for coming in. See you next time.

Okay. Once again, I’m Brian for Career Trek,
reminding that this career could be yours.

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