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Anxiety for a new grad

I am a new grad and have been working for a few months. I have many patients tell me how gentle I am and I worry that they feel like they aren’t getting a good enough cleaning. When doing SRP, my patients don’t really have that much pain or soreness afterwards. I’ve spoken to other people and they have felt throbbing afterwards. I am having EXTREME anxiety that I am doing something wrong and I don’t know how to fix it. I just wanted to know if anyone has any advice.



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Author Note:
I should elaborate that I've had pts say that they feel much cleaner on the side I've done when coming in for the other side and others that were pleased with it not being as bad as they thought but it still leaves me feeling like I'm not doing something correctly. I'm only a few months in so I know I'm not a stellar hygienist yet by any means but it's affecting my life and my sleep. I check with an explorer after and go back if I feel something, too. Any advice is greatly appreciated and thank you in advance!

3 Answers

I have been a hygienist for 30 years. All patients have a different level of pain. If your instruments are sharp you don’t have too ” hurt someone ” to do a thorough job. I have some patients that don’t feel anything after SRP and others who are in pain. After 30 years I still leave some calculus, we are not perfect ! Good luck and stay confident.

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As long as you are doing your very best to provide excellent care (which you are!), don’t be so hard on yourself! Much easier said than done, I know, but realize its hard to be new and it can cause anxiety. You are not alone in that. You need to have patience with yourself, again much easier said than done. It sounds like you are doing everything right, like going back with an explorer to check your work for instance. Have confidence in yourself! The simple fact that you have anxiety and are worried, tells me that you are probably treating your patients to a very high standard of care. I do worry about your level of anxiety though. You need to know, you are highly trained and you aren’t doing anything wrong. I love Taxymom2’s comment – all patient’s have different pain tolerances and you don’t have to be “heavy-handed” to do a good job. (Not to mention sharp instruments making a big difference!) She took the words right out of my mouth! Here’s a different perspective: be thankful your patients aren’t in pain afterward. In time, as you see more patients, you will see that there will be patients that are tender after SRPs. But again, be thankful for the ones that aren’t. And please don’t allow this anxiety to effect your life, that’s not healthy. Deep breaths and positive thinking! If the anxiety continues to effect you as it is now, do not hesitate to go talk to a doctor about it, there’s no shame in that. Scalers up, you got this!

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I’ve been doing hygiene for 20 years and I still get rushes of anxiety. Staying on schedule, finding tx, doing a good job, giving injections are some of my areas that cause nervousness. I’ve just learned to deal with it. Remember the pt isn’t a hygienist and has no idea what you are doing or what things “should” feel like! As long as you know you are doing the best you can.

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