Jamie Collins, RDH
Jamie has been in the dental field for nearly 20 years, both as an assistant and hygienist. In addition to clinical practice, she is also an educator, speaker, and has contributed to multiple textbooks and curriculum development in addition to be a frequently published author.
What’s on your personal holiday wish list this year? You can probably answer that pretty easily – maybe it’s a fancy kitchen gadget or some new slippers to wear after a long work day.
But what if I ask what’s on your RDH wish list? Does that even exist?
If you don’t have one, it’s not too late! There are so many products that can make a world of difference in our everyday practice. This season, make a wish list that will help you improve efficiency, ergonomics and the patient experience.
To get you started, here are 12 things I can’t imagine practicing without.
1. Instruments that don’t need sharpening
I don’t know about you, but I constantly struggle to carve out time for sharpening. Finding 15 or 20 minutes to eat lunch is hard enough as it is!So I removed that stressor completely by investing in some sharpen-free instruments. My favorite is the XP® Sharpen-Free Thin from American Eagle Instruments. The blade is super thin so you can reach those tight interproximal areas, and the blade stays sharp for the instrument’s entire lifetime.
They last just as long as stainless steel (usually longer). But unlike stainless steel, I’m not scrambling to find time to sharpen them – ever.
by Florida Probe
This hands-free voice-activated periodontal charting system eliminates the need to reach for the computer mouse and keyboard, and ultimately reduces the risk of cross-contamination.
This is one of my favorite programs because it streamlines periodontal charting, saving you time while still allowing for interaction with the patient without compromising the charting process. It’s worth the short learning curve and comes with a money-back guarantee, so you can see if you like it without too much worry. Plus, their customer service is exceptional!
You can either invest in yourself and your career by purchasing a saddle stool or risk suffering the consequences of musculoskeletal disorders down the road. I regret not investing in one much earlier in my career.
There are many saddle stool options on the market, and one brand doesn’t necessary fit everyone. So make sure you sit and try out several brands before you make your decision. Even some of the more reasonably priced options work well. Gift yourself the joy of an ergonomic chair! Your back and hips will thank you in the years to come.
4. Vera prophy angles
This angle is unique because it has a metal screw that prevents the prophy cup from wobbling and chattering. The contra angle version with an exterior-ribbed cup does wonders in polishing those hard-to-reach areas. It has quickly become my favorite angle and is worth every penny.
5. A great pair of loupes
If you aren’t already an active loupes user, you should be. A good pair can help reduce eye strain and improve visibility, which will give your quality of care a nice boost.
You can start your search with a well-known brand such as Orascoptic™, or a more economical up-and-coming brand such as Enova®. Make sure you speak with an expert so your depth of field and declination angle are measured correctly. And don’t skip the personal light!
6. An intraoral camera
Having the ability to show patients what we see versus just trying to explain treatment needs is priceless. MouthWatch™ has developed a very reasonably priced camera that provide quality photographs. An intraoral camera is well worth the investment, both for patients understanding and to monitor conditions. They even offer an RDH buyer’s program.
7. Varnish that doesn’t clump
Is it too much to ask for a varnish with a smooth viscosity that’s easy to apply? No, because it actually exists!
The Varnish Pen™ is an ingenious development, especially for treating young children. It gives you the ability to apply a steady stream of fluoride varnish quickly, which is especially important in young patients where you may not get access to the oral cavity again if you have re-load the varnish brush. The Varnish Pen eliminates the need to remove the brush from the mouth until application is complete, making your varnish treatments smoother and more efficient.
8. Additional handpieces
Take advantage of end-of-year promotions to add some new handpieces to the office. The CDC recommends that all handpieces and motors be sterilized between each patient, and this is an economical way to comply with recommendations for corded handpieces.
9. Patients who arrive on time
OK, maybe this one isn’t realistic, but we can dream, right? Any day we can stay on schedule and have a full lunch is worth celebrating!
10. Great-tasting prophy paste
Finding a prophy paste that doesn’t splatter and isn’t so dry that you can’t scoop any into your prophy cup is hard enough. But not only do those pastes exist, they come in excellent flavors!
Ask your dealer if he or she has any extra paste samples, or find some dental manufacturers that offer paste samples through their website. Even our crabbiest scrooge patients will appreciate having flavor choices. Maybe that Strawberry Margarita flavor will bring a smile to their face!
11. A cordless handpiece
If you have never used cordless handpiece, you sure are missing out! Cutting the cord reduces wrist fatigue while letting you move around the patient without the hindrance and limitation of cords. I found the cordless handpiece to be instrumental when treating patients in wheelchairs, or special-needs patients who may not tolerate the noise associated with air-driven handpieces.
12. Time for Yourself
Take care of yourself to be able to care for others. For many, this means time to exercise, eat better, drink a glass of wine or even get a massage (yes please!). In addition to using ergonomic products in the op, do some things outside the op that will benefit the body and mind to ensure a long and healthy career. Take time to recharge, reflect, rejuvenate and prepare for the year to come.
As we close out 2019, it’s time to celebrate the things we have to be thankful for. Family, friends, health, work-life balance, and the innovations in the industry all mold how we care for others. A new decade will undoubtedly bring changes to improve the world of dentistry, and I look forward to what the 2020s will have in store for all of us!
So, what's on your RDH wish list? Tell us below!