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Tips and tricks for new hygienists

I graduated in May, and I have learned so much from other hygienists during temporary jobs, but I feel I still have so much to learn. Lots of it is little tips and tricks which you are not taught in school and I would like to start a little thread for hints and tips, especially from “older” hygienists who have been in the field for a while. I’ll start with a little hint that I picked up.

1. When taking bite wings in the molar area, I always seemed or get overlap, no matter how carefully I lined that pid up. One day when I was struggling, the hygienist in the room next door popped her head in and said “for the molar shot line up the pid with the ring as normal, the open the angle at the back a little, so that the pid is touching the ring at the front, but is open about half an inch at the back. But for the premolars you have to be dead on. Works very time for me, and so simple!



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18 Answers

For mandibular anterior that are lingualized use the ultrasonic inserts: Left and Right. Works great.

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I personally bought the Blue Boa to use with the Hygoformic Saliva Ejector. The blue boa turns the saliva ejector into an HVE. I bend it certain ways for certain patients. Everything is hard to get used to using until you do it over, over, over and over again. The hygoformic saliva ejectors do not cost a lot more than the regular ejectors. Get out of your comfort zone and learn something new and stick with it.
I use tabs for bitewings…….line your finger over the molars and collminator parallel to your finger and place bwx…..line your finger over premolars and line collminator parallel to finger and take bwx. Or you can use cotton tipped applicator instead of finger.
To get 3rd molar shot with xcp place the film off set from the holder and ring and aim collminator off set a bit also so you can get the 3rds with out placing the xcp so far back.

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The Twist Disposable Prophy Angle is great! You do not have saliva splatter or paste splatter. It stays in constant contact with the tooth surface and will not heat up. Started using this over 8 years ago and will NEVER use any other angle!!!!!!!!!

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You have to keep buying regular saliva ejectors…….so keep buying hygoformic ones…..?? For extra tissue you take the hygoformic circle and turn the circle to make the holes higher so tissue doesn’t get stuck. I can also send you pictures of all the bends I make in the hygoformic suction to work with different mouths and flabby tissue.

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For those patients that constantly tighten their lip on the facials of the lower interiors… put a cotton roll in the vestibule area. They will still tighten, but the roll should provide enough room to scale

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By “flappy” I meant “flabby” lol

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Extreme gag reflex……. Salt on tongue while holding both legs in the air and wiggling the toes. Sometimes topical works, but salt seems to work better.
Pt that has a constant cough from post nasal drip or cold you can rub topical on the back of throat which will alleviate the cough hopefully until appt over or apply when cough is back. You can also keep Chloraseptic Sore Throat Spray and pour into cup and have them gargle. You can use this also for gag reflex.

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And another tip I picked up is if the patient has a lot of stain, polish them first with a coarse grit and minimize the amount of scaling you have to do. Then polish again at the end

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Some skills take years to ‘figure out’ the finding out will be what makes you a cut above. I have practiced 31 years and most of what I do now is automatic, but I still have to look to the strength of others to continue to improve, and yes I am always looking to get better. That is why they call it practicing for real! Always be open to learn!Sounds like you have a good start! Always strive for being effective and remember only then will you be efficient! I wish you well!..PS.I don’t use a pid I like tabs! 🙂

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Tips on using ultra sonic and suction!? I’ve always had my patient hold the suction when I was in school, but now that I’m in office I don’t want to seem unprofessional. I tried Hooking it to the patients cheek the other day and it wasn’t working, kept falling or not catching the water.

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I would like suction tips too. I know the curly saliva ejectors work well but if you don’t have those, what do you do? 🙂

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I would love a blue boa, it would almost be worth buying one for myself, although then I would have to keep buying the curly ejectors.
I heard another tip about flappy elderly patient cheeks sucking the saliva ejector and blocking the flow. Try putting a dry angle in there. I am going to try that tomorrow. Keep the tips coming!

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I always check the interproximals with floss before polishing. I also bend the suction like a hook and then bend that hook to the left and put it in the right side of the cheek and that usually stays. Then i can pull in the suction to retract the cheek

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there is also a topical spray that seems to work well with gaggers

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I wrap the saliva ejector loosely around my thumb to get a quick bend / curve that will place the tip of the suction toward the back of the throat and slightly angled in toward the cheek so it won’t fall out and minimize a kink / sharp bend that could inhibit proper suction.

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I am only a dental hygiene student (will be graduating next year ;)! ) but my instructor showed me a suction trick. lay the suction cord on the patient’s body, then bend a little pigtail in the tip, next just stick it in the buccal molar region on the side you are working on. It stays there really nicely and rarely will fall on the floor. This way the patient doesn’t have to hold it.

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I use a saliva ejector connector into the HVE and use a saliva ejector sponge on the tip. Works like MAGIC! 🙂

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The best thing I learned in school is to have a pattern/routine and stick with it. I see too many hygienists start on one area in the mouth then jump across and go to a complete different area before finishing the last. I feel like this wastes time and it makes you less thorough because you don’t know where you’ve been. I start on #2 buccal and work my way across then go to #15 lingual and work my way back, then go to #31 buccal and go across and move to #18 lingual and go across (I do save the lower anterior lingers for very last) . This way I make sure to scale EVERY surface. It saves time too because you aren’t going over the same surface you already scaled because you can’t remember where you’ve been. And use your saliva ejector while polishing, if the teeth are covered in saliva (especially the stringy kind) you are not polishing the teeth as well as you could be. They should be only slight wet if possible.

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