The biggest challenge dental hygienists are facing

Jess Giebel, professional education manager at OraPharma and dental hygienist, spoke with Becker's to discuss the challenges dental hygienists are facing and potential solutions.

Note: This piece was edited lightly for clarity and brevity.

Question: What are some of the biggest challenges dental hygienists are facing today?

Jess Giebel: I think right now, just the lack of support and some burnout. Really right now, just going through the motions of what's expected, not having that support to fully educate patients on their healthy or diseased state. Also, [not] having the resources to fully empower the patient to take accountability for their current dental health state as well.

Q: What are some possible solutions to those challenges?

JG: For the lack of support and burnout, just having those peer-to-peer conversations, having some sharing sessions. The dental word is very small, so being able to have some mentorship and being able to rely on your peers and have that support. Then also being able to have the resources. What's nice is as a dental company, we're able to offer different programs like our Back to Basics program and our MyPerioHealth app. These will definitely be able to help redefine that wait-and-see approach that I think a lot of hygienists take whether because of lack of support or just having those resources to feel empowered to have those conversations with patients.

Q: Why do you think so many practices are having issues with hygienist recruitment?

JG: I think it's just hygienists being able to stand up for ourselves and say, "Hey we want to be a part of this too." We want to be able to have the autonomy to create that patient communication standpoint and be able to be that first line of defense and be as preventive as possible. I think a lot of it is just being able to empower the hygienists to really be a part of the team.

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