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Probing effectively

I’m a little embarrassed to ask because I’ve been a hygienist for a few years now but probing has always been something that I’m slower at. Idk if I’m analyzing too much or what! I noticed people will get a lot of 4’s where I get 3’s. I’m definitely not a “hard pusher”. At one time I worked at a very very fast paced office and wasn’t able to take the time needed to probe properly and lost some skill of angling the probe correctly interproximally. I started building it back up, but once in awhile I’ll notice my angle is off because I won’t fall into a pocket that someone else has on the chart. I’ll go back and find it when I see the readings on the computer. I also struggle at times to reach those lower posterior molars and feel my angle gets off there. When I see I’ve not found a pocket that I should, I get frustrated bc I feel this has happened on and off for years! I definitely feel I should be better, faster and more accurate by now with probing, and have gotten to where my anxiety will get to me because I just don’t always trust myself! Any advice appreciated.

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1 Answer

I think you are being too hard on yourself! I believe that if you let your anxiety go and trust yourself more, you will get faster and more confident. And even if you are “slower” its not a big deal! Once in a while, probe depths from clinician to clinician will differ. Whose to say, the depths in the chart aren’t a bit off and you are actually more accurate. If there’s another hygienist in your office, don’t hesitate to ask to work with them to improve your probing skills. You can also pull out your old hygiene school books and review them, if you still have them. You can also watch YouTube videos on correct probing technique. Remember, that as healthcare professionals, we are always learning. Some hygienists feel they don’t really refine their clinical skills until practicing 5+ years. Practice makes perfect, but you need to allow yourself to make mistakes in order to get better. You got this!

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