Here's to the Hero Hygienists

Hygiene month is here! It’s time to give a shout-out to those working face-to-face with patients during a very rough year. All of us patients APPRECIATE the extra steps and care you take to keep us safe.

We’ve had to up our game to meet the COVID-19 adversary. Lots of hygienists will always remember the air purifiers and new cross-contamination prevention steps; which have changed the dental practice landscape. But more, we’ll remember the hygienists that brave back-breaking work day after day. This is your month!

Nominate a Hero!

Nominate a fellow hygienist (or yourself) to win an UltraPro™ Tx Air handpiecefor $1

Tell us about the closeness you’ve felt with your fellow colleagues. The Facebook groups, the online yoga, the fireside chats, and every other talent in your repertoire is vital to our community. Who is a particular person who kept up your spirits? Who really inspired you and faced the challenge head on? The nominee will receive an email of thanks with your personal note.

Or, recognize someone by posting on social.

The winner of the random drawing will be announced via our Facebook and IG (@ultradentproducts) on November 3, 2020.

Read contest rules

You May Relate to These Women

Shelly Stevenson, RDH | Photo

Shelley Stevenson, RDH, remembers the anxiety of the unknown when COVID-19 first broke out. She had this to say about adjusting as a hygienist.

Read Shelly's Story
I’ve been in the field 25 years. I feel the other infectious diseases were so far before—they were already resolved. I feel more protected with a face shield. I definitely think the head cap is nice too because your hair is protected. I just feel cleaner and safer. The only thing I could see for me personally changing [after this is over] is just using the level 3 mask instead of two—your ears get pulled and it’s uncomfortable. You find creative ways to fasten the loops around your head.

Even though in the beginning there was a lot of unknown, the PPE and extra steps are working. At the end of the day when you’re tired and can’t breathe and overheated…it’s worth it in the end. Knowing we’re all in this together and trying to help one another out, I’ve enjoyed myself while I’ve gone back to work. It’s been good to reconnect with coworkers. It’s not fun to be isolated and be away from colleagues you know so well.
Carol Jent, RDH | Photo

Carol Jent, RDH, is Ultradent’s powerhouse advocate for fluoride—and she never lets surrounding conditions dictate her level of care. Early in her career, Carol worked with the public health service in the Alaska villages. She continues to donate time on humanitarian trips to China to help the orphaned and elderly—as well as at Donated Dental in downtown Salt Lake City.

Read Carol's Story
The support [Ultradent] gave me and our clinicians—each time we went on a beautiful humanitarian trip to China—is a heartfelt memory. They generously donated most of the products for the dentistry we provided to orphans and the impoverished elderly.

I recall a letter I wrote to Dr. Fischer:

“I wasn’t certain how I would react to returning to Suqian, China this year. It seems I had barely gotten over the emotion I felt last year when we met the orphans and elderly of this ‘small’ city of 5 million. Somehow the confidence of knowing I had been there and what to expect put my mind in a different place. I was noticing different things. The children, like all children, always grab at my heart strings—and this trip was no exception.

I am still amazed at the dental needs that go untreated. It is unimaginable how these people go through life with teeth so decayed that they resemble a broken brown clay bowl. At some point you know that the pain must be unbearable. We treated one 12-year-old boy who had a horrific abscess. Through the translator I asked him how he managed with the pain. He said ‘I just did because I didn’t want to miss school.’

A few of the evenings, our group of US dental experts’ (their terminology, not mine) offered mini courses to the local dentists. Because of lack of space and the surprising number that showed, we had to turn away many of the dentistswho had come long distances.”
Hartley Lojik, RDH | Photo

Hartley Lojik, RDH, loves to feel a special connection with her patients. She has the uncanny ability to put them at ease—to the point where they spill the tea on their latest life events. This has been especially valuable to our Ultradent Facebook and IG feeds. Hygienists, dentists, and patients alike know that their feelings are safe with her.

Read Hartley's Story
I had this patient who had failing kidneys. He was on dialysis for nine years. There were about six times where he almost found a kidney. I eventually got a different job, and in February of this year I got a phone call from my old practice. The patient had the office call me to tell me he finally was getting a kidney. That patient asked them ‘Please call that hygienist and tell her, because we used to talk about it all the time!’ He was the most positive, chill, little Polynesian in a broom hat. He would even try to tip me, and I was like ‘No, you keep it for your kidney!’

When I see patients who haven’t been to the dentist in a really long time, there’s always a lot of hugs and tears when the appointment is done. Patients tell you a lot of secrets when you are a hygienist. Your mouth is a very personal space. Your spouse, your dentist, and your hygienist are the only ones who are in your mouth. It becomes a very intimate relationship. I would hear about marital problems, homeless struggles, closet homosexuals struggling with their identity—I mean I get to really connect with people. I’m so lucky to have that kind of trust.
Sandy Lee Holifield, RDH | Photo

Sandy Lee Holifield, RDH, has felt relief through connection with coworkers. For over five years she’s been an admin for the Facebook group Lighthearted RDH, as well as entertaining in the podcast Off Your Flosser.

Read Sandy's Story
When I realized things [with COVID-19] were going to be longer term we had a flood of questions. There was a lot of fear but a lot of support…People were kind of going through the same thing and it affected dental in such a severe way, so it definitely was a huge outlet for people. We turned on post approval because we had so many of the same questions from a lot of people: PPE, unemployment, COVID, etc. They turned into full-on discussion threads. [. . .] You don’t always verbalize what you’re going through but it’s nice to have those people there. People just need to support each other.

During the emergency phase we had someone who needed fillings done. After the filling patient I started feeling sick, I had every single symptom…but I tested negative for COVID-19. I got the test again and it was still negative for COVID. I went to my own doctor and it turned out the be a sinus issue. I still had to quarantine…There was a lot of fear surrounding how I got sick and it was such a hassle to get back to work.

I feel like we’re doing what we need to do to prevent those close calls though. It’s too detrimental not to do these things now. It’s not going to be the last disease to create change like this. [. . .] There are some people who run from it, and there are some people who run to it.

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FREE Live Zoom Courses

A Hygienist’s Guide to Understanding Proper Use Of the Diode Laser

by Dr. Ron Kaminer

The hygienist can use the diode laser in a variety of ways depending on licensure and state laws. The diode can be used to actively remove inflamed tissue or just as a disinfection tool to kill bacteria. It can also be used therapeutically in a variety of ways to assist in healing of various problems.

Join us as we review key principles and share a variety of pearls that will allow you to practice safely and efficiently.


Oct 23, 2020 12:00 PM Mountain Time (US and Canada)

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Upping Your Game in Periodontal Maintenance in the COVID Era

by Dr. Lou Graham

The foundation of this course is based upon the following: practice growth equates directly to hygiene growth. Now, as we enter the COVID era, there will be distinct changes that will elevate the role of the dental hygienist and equally, move their practice far beyond “just a cleaning.” From diagnostics to new protocols, techniques and products, this course will focus on safety and why this is a new era in dental hygiene.


Oct 8, 2020 08:00 PM Mountain Time (US and Canada)

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Oct 9, 2020 8:00 AM Mountain Time (US and Canada)

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