Here are 5 areas where dental professionals can make a positive impact on the wellness and quality of life for both patients and dental healthcare providers in 2022.
From the obvious advice to brush regularly and cut down on sweets, to the often overlooked notion that you must take care of yourself as best as possible before you care for others in the best ways possible, it’s important this time of year to take a look at what we can focus on in the New Year to benefit oral health as well as mental health.
Here’s 5 areas where we can make a positive impact on the wellness and quality of life for both patients and dental healthcare providers.
By now, pretty much everyone on the planet understands the benefits of brushing teeth and most have also heard praises sung about the importance of flossing. We also know less sugary foods leads to better oral and overall health. But it’s always important to brush up on the latest science and product developments so you can share the latest and greatest with your patients. Maybe it’s time for the hygiene team to hand more of their patients a mirror or typodont and demonstrate proper flossing adaptations, or to realize and communicate to patients and parents of younger patients that options such as interdental brushes, water flossers or even floss-holder aids may make for better options for some.
Providing dental care has always had its share of obstacles and pressures, and the COVID-19 pandemic has only worsened the situation. New concerns about risks at work, staffing issues and dealing with a patient base that may now be a little more on edge, doesn’t help matters any. A lack of gratuity amongst difficult patients, and a do-more-with-less mentality can put a strain on the staff, so it’s critical to take steps to balance work and your personal life and well-being. Eat healthy, map out a workout regimen, make sure to fit fun activities into your daily life outside the practice, as well as finding time to take brief breaks or even meditate when you need to chill for a spell. Again, it’s hard to care for others at the highest level when you don’t care for yourself enough.
Dental Products Report editorial advisory board member Katrina Sanders, RDH, BSDH, M.Ed, RF, has recommended in past New Year’s Resolutions just how important it is for hygienists to use some of their many skills outside of the dental operatory. To put it frankly, she says, “dental hygienists are highly trained professionals with an incredible sense of empathy, responsibility, and passion for generosity and serving others, and the pressures of private practice often leave our love tanks empty.” The incredible ability for hygienists to contribute their time and skills to make a difference in their community or travel to provide access to care for a remote community is abundant. And there are many other opportunities for the entire dental team to give back, some of which can be found on the ADA’s website at https://www.ada.org/about/volunteer-and-get-involved-with-the-ada
Communication is everything when it comes to dealing with patients, parents, vendors and the dental team. From one-on-one conversations, to email, to text, and social media, communication is the most important tool you have to build your practice, both inside and out. Strive to find ways to better communicate with your staff, your patients and everyone who plays a part in the process of proving great oral care. Don’t leave anyone guessing as to what they should do or what they should be aware of. This includes finding ways to ensure that your patients are kept up to date with their treatment information as well as changes happening within your practice.
Today, it’s more important than ever to ensure that we stay on top of the latest product and technique advances designed to make the delivery of dental care more efficient and better for both the patients and the dental team. New techniques, new treatments, and new findings are always happening and it’s important to stay up to date with this information as best as possible. This makes networking not only an invaluable skill for graduates looking for their first dental job, it makes it an invaluable skill for professionals with experience as well. Reach out to trusted colleagues if you’re looking into a new technology or restorative material, or attend a virtual or in-person CE course from a trusted source. Find the best conferences to attend or utilize your own online presence to connect with peers. Follow these steps and you and your practice may just make your practice a bigger success in 2022—again, having both you and your patients reap the rewards.