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How long does your doctor take to do the exam? Do he or she go back and scale more?

So, I wanted to bring this question up because I’ve worked for many different dentists (mostly temping) and I thought I’ve seen it all. My current boss takes, what I think is a lot of time with the exam. Extremely thorough, and even goes back to scale those little itty bitty granules of calculus. I know what you’re saying, “a good hygienist wouldn’t leave anything behind.” But, come on. This is the real world. I feel my boss is really anal about removing everything, and I really shouldn’t get worked up over it because I’m never told to go back and “scale that area better.” But it does tend to put me behind on my schedule many times.
On the good side, I’m not required to check for caries or anything really. It’s all done by the doc. My other office that I work PT at, we’re required to look for cervical caries. He just probes and checks occlusals.
What is your experiences with your boss’ exams? Too short, too long, not good enough?



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5 Answers

My boss does very thorough exams for every patient; basically a comp exam every time. He takes 10-15 minutes; so knowing this I make sure I allow enough time at the end. My office prides itself on never running late. So in turn, if I’m not finished scaling when it’s about time for doc to come in, we have the patient come back. Also, if I cannot finish it means that the patient may need to tighten up on their recall – instead of 6 months, 4 months may be better. As of yet, he has never re-scaled an area I missed. However, my first office after hygiene school was the polar opposite. I got 30 minutes (not assisted hygiene) and the doctor would make a big deal and re-scale if I missed something. He would go out of his way to embarrass me in front of the patient about it too. He would take 2 minutes to do his exams. In dentistry, OCD isn’t a bad thing, but there has to be a happy medium!

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I am completely confused and in shock why a doc would want to scale what a hygienist may have missed. The only thing this does is show the patient that they have hired a hygienist that is not thorough and not to be trusted, (which we know is not the case, everybody misses calc sometimes). A good dentist should want her/his patients to trust the staff, not question their abilities. What would your boss say or do if you pointed out an overhang that they had done and you suggested that you could remove it for them?!
Now, that being said…I would not take issue of a doc telling me in private that there was a spot I had missed.

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Just depends. Some exams are too short, too long, not long enough. Are you wearing Loupes? Are you using a Piezo or an ultrasonic scaler with thin inserts? Are you using the Blue boa and the Hygoformic Saliva Ejector for a light and easy hands free HVE?
Sometimes the doctor picks up the scaler to check some areas and sometimes I find residual bond/flashing material and remove it. It goes both ways. Maybe have the doc in for exam at beginning of appt so you don’t have to wait at the end. Move pt to his extra room for the exam.

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I have one boss who occasionally will ask me to go over a certain spot again. I don’t really mind.

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I am new and run into this issue. Makes me feel like a crappy hygienist but at the same time, how can they expect me to be so thorough? I have to fill out swot and cambra, take pictures, xrays, chart, perio chart including gm furc and mobility if any,the cleaning, dr exam, put the tx plan together and make next appt. I’m sure one day it’ll be possible but right now, it’s not.

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