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Am I doing too much?!?!

I’ve been a hygienist for almost 20 years. Was an assistant for 7 years previously. I’d like to know how many of you help the doc diagnose treatment? For example if a pt comes in with incipient i-prox caries in numerous sites, do you take BW’s at the next 6mo recall appt to check those watch areas (with the pt’s permission)? OR If a pt comes in with a problem like, biting sense, or a tooth ache, do you try to find the problem and get the doc what he needs (PA, Tooth Slooth, I/O photo)?
I work with many other hygienist that don’t seem to do this. AM I doing too much? I feel as if I can get the doc what he needs before he comes in then he won’t spend that much time in my room. But, I often run about 10mins behind schedule on a daily basis. Thoughts?



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16 Answers

I think more hygienist should be proactive like this. If I am worried about running behind for the next pt I often move the pt to one of the restorative ops. We need to recommend treatment etc. I couldn’t imagine not doing what you stated in your question. The question should be if the hygienist aren’t doing this…….WHY? You keep going above and beyond!

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I think you sound like a great hygienist! If someone comes in with a problem I can help with, I will do what I can, like take a PA if it seems to be indicated. I’ve only been a hygienist for five years though so I feel like I don’t have all the knowledge that, for example, you have to be able to help too much more than that. I personally don’t think you’re doing too much, it sounds like you’re doing what you can to be helpful and I bet your doc and patients love you!

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I have found that after I work for a dentist for a while, I learn what they want ahead of time and try to have it ready, that saves time in the long run. I think what you are doing sounds great. We all get behind sometimes, and then it’s hard to get caught up. Maybe you could watch the clock at other times and try to pace yourself better.

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You are doing a wonderful job and that is what we are suppose to be doing as we spend more time in the pt mouth than the doctor. I do the same thing as you. If I see that I am going to run behind, I move the pt to another room and give the doctor a note with my findings. Keep up the great work!

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No not @ all. I work for I guess you would call it corporate dentistry and I’ve been in numerous offices for this corporation every doctor is suppose to have a treatment plan for predictability prepared and available for assistants/ hygienist to look @ or refer to. All doctors are suppose to present it to employees pretty much their 1st day on the job so they can be better prepared for what the doctor wants. For example perio guidelines, what the drs looking for , for diagnosis and then the course of action the dr would like to see being taken to treat the perio & for future recares. Same thing for when a pt comes in w/ a toothache & what the dr wants xray wise etc. If I have a pt come in & they tell me I have a toothache then more than likely I’m going to ask the pt to try to pin point area and tooth, and snap a PA & bwx for the dr prior to coming in. If I can a problem w/ that tooth during visual exam then I’ll take an intra oral photo for insurance and to show the pt it saves me and the dr time. I strongly recommend maybe speaking w/ your dr & asking him what he would like to see done, or if he would mind making a tx plan for predictability for all employees to start referring to.

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I’ve been practicing 28 years…we were taught in school to diagnose and treatment plan …to me the Dr’s visit is not the exam its a courtesy hello lol…I’ve done all the xrays, charted, evaluated, and treatment planned needs…if he comes in, which he doesnt always especially if I am scheduling them to come back with him for work, its to sign off on my plan and give me the time frame for the appointment to schedule…I’ve always treatment planned and have often wondered if hygiene school today is less rigorous? I have worked with many hygienists not even charting or evaluating desease…

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I will write down everything I see as far as restorative needs-caries or watch areas on films, clinical findings etc. Our new doctor/owner expects this. If a pt reports a problem with a tooth, he expects a PAX. When he comes in he looks at films first, then asks me about clinical findings. We go tooth by tooth and I chart his treatment plan as he does the exam.

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I agree with Debbie above. I too do the exam and X-rays and the doc comes in to just have me read off my findings. Occasionally we disagree but if I fèel strongly about a call I persist.

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I always learned that when the Dr is coming into your operatory, you should already have “done the work for them”. Basically, give them the run down and what you believe needs to be done and it allows them to know what they’re doing before they even have to do it! 99% of the time they will agree with you on it. You sound like a great role model!!

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Thank you all for your responses. I always felt like I was trying to give my all for the doc and the pt. Frustrations that my fellow hyg don’t do the same, just so they have time to surf the web or return personal phone calls, or socialize is the real issue here. I’m going to keep doing what I’m doing, and try not to get frustrated! Thanks again!

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You are doing the right thing. To set up for your Dr.s success is a win win for everyone. I make sure the Dr. doesn’t have to ask for any additional information and also explain possible treatments to the patient so the patient is already in the know. Good Job!!

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I think you are doing what a hygienist does. Do we do alot? Yes and we are expected to do more and more. Is it right? Well, we don’t get paid the big bucks to chat and polish.

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I do just as you do. I feel that the Dr doesn’t have as much time in the patients mouth as we do and it’s our job to ‘help’ them out. I will always use a sticky note to write down areas of ‘concern’ that I see. If a pt gas an isolated issue I will take a PA if I think necessary. I will get ready hand piece, burrs and articulating tape or endorse ice, etc…whatever I think he will need. This saves time for both of us.

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I would say you are doing exactly what you should be doing. The hygienist spends more time with the patient and should be able to relay their findings to the Dr. It’s called teamwork and is a win win combination for the patient!! Keep up the great work!!

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No, you’re not doing too much. That’s what I was trained to do. Of course we can’t always anticipate every doctor’s desires but it sounds like you know what your doctor wants. As long as you and the doc and working together well to provide the best care for the pt, you’re doing it right. Now, when your doctor wants to be the one to call all the shots…..

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Sounds like you’re doing what we’d all love to be able to do. Keep up the great work! Just curious….how much time do they give you per patient?

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