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Leaving Calculus Behind

I was recently confronted by my Dr and told both of the other hygienists in my office have seen patients for a 3 month recall after I have done scaling and there is calculus left behind. I pride myself on being the best hygienist I can be, and make it a point to take BWX after I do SRP to check my work. I know I’m not perfect and I’m completely capable of leaving calculus behind, but I feel like there are so many factors to consider… did this patient have poor home care, etc. I also don’t appreciate being “thrown under the bus” so to speak. Both of these hygienist’s have years of experience on me and I would have liked to have been confronted by them first instead of the doctor. When I asked who these patients were, he could not provide me any names. He said I need to get better with this skill and from now on a Dr needs to come in and check my work after a scaling.

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1 Answer

How would they know you left calculus behind or if it’s new calculus since treatment? Yes, there are so many factors to consider! Patients can build calculus within 48 hours (some even less) depending on saliva composition especially if their home care isn’t up to par. Considering they needed SRPs shows a lack of homecare right there.
I agree with you that both hygienists should have come to you first and never thrown you under the bus. That is simply unprofessional. Constructive criticism is one thing, being passive aggressive is another. Further, if it was constructive criticism, the doctor should have given you the names of the patients.
No hygienist is perfect. Even the hygienists who went to your doctor leave calculus behind. You graduated the dental hygiene program and passed boards. To have the doctor check behind you is demeaning, in my opinion. Real talk here, doctors have about 2 weeks of training in instrumentation; essentially 2 weeks to learn what we learned in 2-3 years. So is it really appropriate that the doctor checks for calculus? It looks bad to patients, as well.
This doesn’t sound like a great environment to work in. It sounds like there’s a you vs. them mentality. Like I said, constructive criticism and helping each other be the best clinician they can be is one thing, throwing team members under the bus, is another. Perhaps a chat with the doctor explaining your case may help. If it doesn’t and you aren’t happy working there because of passive aggressive co-workers, well, I wouldn’t blame you for moving on!
I’m so sorry you are dealing with this!

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