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Chicago Midwinter Meeting Plays Host to AAP’s Perio Power Hour

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The event provided updates on the AAP Dental Hygiene Engagement Initiative, and an opportunity for periodontists and dental hygienists to share ideas on how best to care for their shared patients

Chicago Midwinter Meeting Plays Host to AAP’s Perio Power Hour | Image Credit: © American Academy of Periodontology

Chicago Midwinter Meeting Plays Host to AAP’s Perio Power Hour | Image Credit: © American Academy of Periodontology

The American Academy of Periodontology (AAP) capped off a big first night at this year’s Chicago Dental Society Midwinter Meeting on Feb. 22 with its exclusive Perio Power Hour held at the Solarium Bar at the VU Rooftop. The event provided an opportunity for attendees and media to connect, learn, and celebrate recent strides made between periodontists and dental hygienists in efforts to better provide comprehensive care to patients.

A key theme on this night was the important roles hygienists and periodontists play in combatting periodontal disease, and how critical it is for them to work closely together.

Collaboration a Key

A strong relationship between periodontists and dental hygienists is critical to comprehensive patient care. The AAP is committed to facilitating these relationships in the name of periodontal health.

At its 109th Annual Meeting in November 2023, the academy launched a new multi-year, multi-pronged initiative to educate dental hygienists on periodontal topics. Last week in Chicago, the AAP provided updates on the AAP Dental Hygiene Engagement Initiative—which aims to bring together periodontists and dental hygienists to learn, network, and ultimately provide the best possible care to patients—and the recognition program.

The AAP Dental Hygienist Recognition Program awards hygienists who engage with the AAP through member-led study clubs and more. Hygienists are encouraged to join the Recognition Program to engage with AAP member periodontists and earn continuing education credits by participating in an AAP member-led dental hygiene study club in their local area or by consuming on-demand education through the online Hygiene Learning Library.

Dental hygienists who earn CE credits through the Recognition Program will also earn credits towards different tiers of AAP recognition, the academy states. Those interested can sign up here.

Mia L. Geisinger, DDS, MS, is the AAP President-elect and acting chair, Department of Periodontology Director, Advanced Education in Periodontology School of Dentistry, The University of Alabama at Birmingham. She lectures nationally and internationally on topics in periodontology and oral healthcare.

Mia L. Geisinger, DDS, MS

Mia L. Geisinger, DDS, MS

"Dental hygienists are highly trained preventive specialists and are on the front lines for the prevention and early identification of periodontal diseases and conditions. As periodontists, our partnerships with dental hygiene partners allow us to better address our patient's needs and promote their oral and overall wellness," Dr Geisinger says in a press release.

James G. Wilson, DMD, a past president of the AAP, also shared his thoughts on the importance of collaboration between hygienists and periodontists.

James G. Wilson, DMD

James G. Wilson, DMD

“The AAP Dental Hygienist Recognition Program provides the opportunity for dental hygienists to be recognized for and showcase their commitment to lifelong learning and improving their interactions with the patients who entrust their health to them," he adds.

Additionally, the Dental Hygiene Engagement Initiative includes:

  • AAP member-led Dental Hygiene Study Clubs. These study groups will provide AAP member periodontists materials and resources to facilitate programs in their local areas. The purpose is to enhance dental hygienists’ knowledge of periodontics and to help periodontists strengthen their local network.
  • The Dental Hygiene Recognition Program. This program encourages dental hygienists to engage with the AAP through the local Dental Hygiene Study Clubs, online on-demand content, and other CE courses. The more engagement, the higher the recognition.
  • The Hygiene Learning Library. This online resource for hygienists was unveiled at the annual meeting and its contents will evolve over time to include the most current information about periodontics.
  • Collaborative efforts that could entail joint conferences, webinars, article series, and social media activities.

For additional information on these initiatives, click here.

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