dental hygienist

Dental hygienists are an integral part of any dental practice. They see most patients and perform a large majority of the daily cleanings that account for a good portion of revenue for facilities. Like any position, they have their own set of issues and challenges that come with their profession. This Dental Hygienist Week, we are looking at some of the top issues hygienists face in their roles.

Musculoskeletal Issues 

Because hygienists work long hours performing repetitive work that requires precise movements, they are highly susceptible to pain in their wrists, elbows, shoulders, neck and lower back. 

Dental cleaning requires hygienists to be seated in dental stools that require them to hunch over, which can cause back pain. They are also constantly looking down into patients’ mouths, forcing them to crane their necks into uncomfortable positions. Finally, regular cleanings require hygienists to move their arms into unnatural positions and hold them for long periods of time. It’s not easy to gain access to treatment areas, and holding these awkward positions — even while following best practices regarding posture — can cause pain and discomfort. After years of treating patients, most hygienists find themselves needing some type of orthopedic treatment for musculoskeletal pain. 

Time Issues 

Dental hygienists have a lot to do and not much time to do it. During a normal patient visit, hygienists generally take vitals, discuss medical history and concerns since the patient’s last visit, take x-rays, clean the patient’s teeth, check the health of the patient’s gums, and examine for abnormalities, cancer, etc. 

It’s a lot to do in the short time they are with patients, creating a time crunch that can lead to stress on the job. These issues are exacerbated if the hygienist doesn’t have the proper tools to position patients in a way that makes it easier to treat them. 

Patient Issues 

Not all patients like going to the dentist. Some have anxiety about it, others have a more severe fear that makes them much harder to treat in such a short period of time. Hygienists must not only perform their jobs well, and quickly, they must also make patients feel safe and comfortable. Hygienists are the main client-facing employees of a dental clinic, and how they make patients feel can greatly influence whether the patient decides to return to their clinic or find another dentist to treat them. 

One Solution to Help All Three Issues 

While there is no end-all solution to any of these issues, there is one type of product that can help reduce the negative effects of all three: dental chair headrests. Dental headrests allow hygienists to properly position patients in dental chairs, which can result in several beneficial outcomes: 

  1. Because the patient’s head is in a better position, hygienists can work more quickly and comfortably. 
  2. When hygienists can work more quickly and comfortably, they will be less stressed about having enough time to properly treat a patient. 
  3. Dental headrests are also more comfortable for patients, which can reduce their anxiety and make them more likely to become returning customers. 

Dental headrests can help your hygienists become happier, better workers, and they can make your patients want to return to you for treatment. Learn more about dental headrests at the Crescent Products store.

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