Ita��s true that dental hygienist training prepares you for a fulfilling career, but dona��t think for a second that ita��s an easy one. When you become a Dental Hygienist, you will provide the first line of defense against dental caries (cavities, tooth decay), periodontal disease and oral cancer.
Prevention will be your first and most important job. Youa��ll need to ask the right questions, evaluate the responses and assess the risk facing each individual patient.
Your dental hygienist school training will let you know what type of questions to ask, but because of the fast pace of the typical dental office, you may feel pressed for time when assessing risk.
CARE Can Help
Fortunately there is a new online tool from Phillips designed specifically for dental hygienists that makes the data compilation, risk assessment and bookkeeping a whole lot easier. Ita��s called CARE and ita��s free.
The company stresses that ita��s to be used as a supplement to the care you provide your patients. Also, while it is available to the public online, Phillips advises against patients using it to assess themselves. There needs to be input from a well-trained dental professional like you.
How CARE Works
The CARE system is actually quite easy to use. It gives you a series of questions to ask each patient and then the hygienist inputs their responses into the tool. CARE cover the three types of dental problems you are hoping to prevent: caries, periodontal disease and oral cancer (or oral pathology as the tool itself calls it). Some are designed to determine risk factors, others look for disease indicators and a third set offers protective measures.
The questions include:
- Does the patient consume frequent cariogenic snacks or beverages (more than 3 times daily) between meals?
- Does the patient have an unexplained sore throat or feeling that something is caught in the throat, or chronic hoarseness?
- Does the patient have any tooth mobility?
- Has the patient lost teeth (excluding third molars or teeth removed for orthodontic purposes)?
- Does the patient have any unexplained oral swelling?
- Does the patient reside or work or attend school in a fluoridated community?
- Is the patient a non-smoker, or did he or she stop smoking tobacco more than ten years ago?
Once the answers have been inputted, CARE calculates the risk assessment for the patient and grades it from low to extreme. It makes the determining factors available, along with the assessment, as a printable document.
Finally, CARE provides you with solid recommendations for your patienta��s next course of action. These are based on industry-recognized standards. Ita��s up to hygienists, of course, to add their own expertise into the equation, go over the responses with the patient, and offer tailored solutions.
You can watch a demonstration and try out CARE for yourself on the Phillips website.
Do you plan on using CARE when you start working as a dental hygienist? Do you know someone who already does? Let us know in the comments.