As a dental hygienist, your continual dental learning can benefit patients. To keep your license current, one of the things you must do is to take continuing education courses. You can also learn by attending dental hygiene meetings, reading journals and using the web. However, there is one source of learning you may already know very well: the dentist in your office.
Your dentist can be an excellent mentor who can pass down valuable knowledge and first-hand experiences. If you develop a strong relationship with he or she, you can pick up knowledge that will help you further your career and aid your patients. Here are five valuable areas you can learn more about from your dentist:
This can be one of the most controversial topics in dentistry. There are more than occlusion classes 1, 2 and 3, making it the perfect topic to discuss with your dentist. Do you know what occlusal philosophy your dentist practices? There are several occlusal methods to treat full-mouth reconstruction cases and denture cases.
Dental hygiene is fundamental to the operation of most dental offices. A dentist who recognizes the importance of a progressive, productive hygiene department empowers you to be proactive and excel. If you feel that you could implement other innovative methods that would help you help your patients improve their oral care, speak with the dentist and find out how he or she feels about growing the hygiene department.
When the dentist diagnoses a disease or condition, the patient may then lean on the dental hygienist for more details about the prescribed treatment. Dental hygienists can learn the details of standard procedures from their dentists, such as implant placement and bonding techniques, to be able to better provide answers to patients when they have questions about the treatment or procedure.
For instance, lithium disilicate vs. zirconia: Do you know the difference between dental materials? What aesthetic restorations are bonded? Cemented? What types of direct composite restorations does your dentist place? Your dentist will be happy you are curious about dental materials. They do affect how you treat a patient's smile for health and longevity.
As dentistry evolves and new materials, technologies and techniques are discovered, you should keep up to date. If advancements are introduced in the office, get involved in any training or education that may be offered to dental hygienists. Confidence in knowing what your dentist and the practice offer only increases your level of professionalism. New technologies and procedures may include:
- Implementation of a digital impression system and how to scan
- Orthodontics, such as short-term orthodontics, Invisalign or general orthodontics
- Laser therapy
- Oral cancer detection devices
- Radiology and cone beam technology
- Implant systems and implant retained dentures
- Sleep apnea and how to treat it
- Polishing and finishing restorations
- Botox and fillers (if your state board allows them)
Gaining knowledge and experience from your dentist can provide you with valuable insights into dental procedures and materials. Learning something new every day can help you provide a higher level of comprehensive care to your patients.
- Your dentist can help share his or her preference for occlusion treatment to give you more knowledge.
- Dentists can help explain the difference between certain dental materials.
As a professional, it is necessary to keep current with the latest treatment methods. Learning from the dentist is an easy and convenient way to acquire knowledge to communicate to the patient, and to help provide information and a seamless flow of care.