#1 – Beginner

If you have just graduated from hygiene school or have been “out of practice” for a couple of years, plan to start slowly.  Also, even if you’ve been practicing for some time in another office, take the opportunity to start slow ‑ and save yourself the extra stress.

A “slow start” is one adult recall prophy client every 1 1/2 ‑ 2 hours. This may seem like a very long time to you, but this is the time not to just “clean teeth” but to organize the whole experience for your client.  Can you make this experience so significant that your client would willingly drive past 50‑100 other hygienists to get to you?  This is how good you are expected to be.  We will do everything to help you achieve this goal.

Begin by reading through the level one manual.  Learn our philosophy. Discuss it with the doctors, other hygienists, and assistants.  Learn how everyone else in the office supports the hygienist.  Think through and organize in your mind how to develop a winning relationship with your client.

Since every client you meet will be a “new client” to you, here is how we would like for you to start your relationship with this client.

  1. Introduce yourself.  Ask your client how s/he prefers to be called.
  2. State (not explain) that you have not had the opportunity to clean his/her teeth before.  As they are sitting upright in the dental chair, review their medical/dental history.  Focus on what they like best and least in our office.  Ask them what they particularly like and dislike during a cleaning appointment.  If they seem nervous offer nitrous oxide (read section   in level 2).
  3. Give your client the impression that you are “in control.”  That you will use all the necessary resources to insure them   the best dental cleaning appointment they have every experienced.   Then do it!

When you aren’t seeing a client, you will have free time.  This is by design.  Now is your chance to see how the other hygienists work.

Copy the level 1 title page and post it where the other hygienists can see your progress. Ask each hygienist to help you with one task.  The other hygienists will have much less time than you do.  You can sit at the chair with them.  Suction and help them.  Clean up for them between clients.  Clean their instruments.  Talk with them.  Learn from them. Ask questions.

When you feel confident that you know how to do a recall prophy with the quality that the other hygienists have, tell your dentist.  This should take you about 3 weeks.  Now it’s time to clean the dentist’s teeth.  You may want to clean one of the hygienist’s teeth first to get “checked out.”

Beginner ‑ hygienist as chairside assistant

Often a hygienist knows very little about how a dental office functions.  She gets stuck in a little room cleaning teeth on her own set of clients ‑ and seldom surfaces to interact with the staff. You can solve this by working as a chairside assistant for a few weeks. This an option. The pay of a chairside isn’t nearly as good as you’ll be making, but the experience is terrific.  Let your dentist know if you would like to do this.

Why don’t clients come back for recalls?  You might think it’s because they don’t value their dental health, etc. ‑ but that’s probably not the real reason.  Here are some possibilities:

1.  You didn’t inspire confidence in the client

a.  You were tense, nervous

b.  You acted confused, unsure of yourself

c.  You didn’t seem to have a routine treatment procedure (jump  around, pick‑up, hunt for instruments, talk to yourself)

d.  You seemed preoccupied ‑ didn’t pay much attention to the  client

e.  You allowed yourself to be interrupt, spent time talking with staff and seemed to ignore your client

f.  Your appearance isn’t professional (hair, nails, etc.)

2.  You didn’t appear calm, in control

3.  Didn’t treat the client as a special person rather than a set of teeth

4.  Make your client wait

5.  Didn’t appear to care if the client wasn’t comfortable

6.  Didn’t explain what you were doing

7.  Criticizes the client

A good way to start your career with us at HealthPark is to observe the dentists at the chair for one week.  This will give you the opportunity to see endodontics, crowns, bridges, fillings, TMJ treatments, esthetic dentistry, emergencies, etc. firsthand.  You will be much more effective explaining these procedures to your clients.

Be sure to

  • Have side shields on your safety glasses
  • If desired, you may schedule 1 1/2 hours / client as you get comfortable with our practice. Only as long as RDH desires (just out of school, etc.)
  • Or you can start 2 weeks at chairside before begin with hygiene duties.
  • Place your license in your operatory.