If you’ve been in a dental workplace long enough, you know that almost everybody—hygienists included—tends to get behind on their dental cleanings. So, when you find downtime in your day or plan a date just for your entire dental workplace to catch up on their oral care, who cleans your teeth since you’re the hygienist?!
For multi-hygienist practices, the hygienists usually clean each other’s teeth. But if you’re in a solo hygienist practice, the dentist will usually clean your teeth. Finding downtime can be a little challenging, so you might want to schedule an appointment on your day off or plan a dental workplace “dental day” for the entire team. And it’s completely fine if you have another friend that’s a hygienist and go to their office for a dental cleaning.
And yes, there are some hygienists who clean their own teeth. It’s not easy, but it’s doable!
Whether you’re a hygienist or dentist cleaning each other’s teeth, it’s completely normal for both you as the clinician and the patient to feel a little nervous.
Why?! Because for one, you’re probably thinking that the other person is over-analyzing your techniques. But rest assured, they’re probably more worried that you’re judging them for any buildup in their mouth.
It’s more of a lose-lose than a win-win. But here’s the good news. When you KNOW that’s the situation, you can relax a little bit. Remember, everyone in the dental workplace is trying to help each other. And chances are, the person cleaning the other hygienist or dentist’s teeth is probably going to be way more thorough and gentler than they are with somebody who doesn’t work with them every day.
Do you have an affinity for that one scaler in your hygiene setup? Maybe a particular ultrasonic tip or flavor of prophy paste? Well, you’re in luck. You can help set the room up and pick out whichever one you want.
When you’re on the receiving end of a dental cleaning, chances are the other hygienist does things a little differently than you do. Maybe they floss before polishing, where you do it afterward. Or they use a different technique to place their bitewings. Ask them about it and you can pick up a few tips to see what works for them (and vice versa).
You’ve probably said it yourself: no matter how great you brush and floss, you’re still going to get some buildup on your teeth. It’s the same thing when you’re an RDH getting your teeth cleaned. So don’t feel embarrassed or self-conscious if you feel a little more scraping on the lingual of those lower anteriors. Having a little tartar doesn’t make you an RDH failure; it makes you human. And it might just make it a little less stressful the next time you’re cleaning your co-worker's teeth.
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