Another new year. By the time you receive this magazine, you probably will have broken all of your New Year's resolutions. Oh well, tomorrow is another day; make a fresh start. Have you set your goals for the office, and maybe some for home, too?
As we travel through this life, things seem to repeat themselves. The other night, I attended the annual business meeting of my local dental society. The published agenda invited dentists to bring their hygienists to the meeting to discuss the creation of a new member of the dental team - the dental therapist or what also has been termed a "scaling assistant." Everybody had good intentions ... until the meeting began. Then it was obvious that it was "us" against "them" again.
The hygienists were not allowed into the room until the business meeting was over. I am not sure why, since the only business was the election of officers and some bylaws changes. Then, someone made a motion to discuss the topic in private first. The hygienists were made to wait another hour. In my opinion, nothing was said that could not have been said in the presence of the hygienists. By now, the hygienists were upset about the way they were being treated. If I had been in their place, I probably would have left. After about a half hour of discussion - during which the hygienists were much better prepared than the dentists - both groups agreed there was a communication problem. That was the understatement of the night!
I can remember the problems our state Dental Board had passing general supervision for hygienists. That night, the Dental Board sat at a table in the front of the room. Dentists sat on one side of a center aisle, and the hygienists sat on the other side. A dentist would stand at the microphone in the front of the room and speak against general supervision. Then, a hygienist would come forward and speak for general supervision. That went on for at least two hours. Us against them.
General supervision became law in our state simply because we had a forward-thinking Dental Board. Now, dentists in our state think general supervision is great! We probably will have some type of new auxiliary position in our state, but I don't think things will change much in most dental practices. I hope our leaders are smart enough to provide for adequate education and a regulated certification of this new therapist.
As we begin this new year, I hope we can set a goal of opening the lines of communication between dentists and hygienists. We should strive to do this in all levels of our dental world.
A good friend of mine, Dr. Johnny Savage, sent me a wonderful piece that I would like to quote here. This is "Johnny's Creed:"
"This moment is the only opportunity you and I have to make our lives and this world around us better. We must understand that our every thought and action affects us and everyone around us.
"To observe our thoughts and actions - and be aware of the effect they have on us and others - gives us insight into a more fulfilled life and spiritual growth. Awareness of what we do - and what we need to do - is not enough unless it translates into improved action.
"To have love, compassion and responsibility for ourselves and others, we must first become these things. The best goal I can achieve for myself, my family, my friends, and this world is to manage my own life well. This is difficult and responsible work, so I ask God's help in guiding me to a life of observation, awareness, change, and growth.
"What a wonderful world and a paradise this could be if we all live with love. Help this miracle to be!"
Thank you, Johnny, for giving us those wonderful words of encouragement and direction for our life's work.
Joe Blaes, DDS Editor—email: firstname.lastname@example.org
Toll-free phone number: 9866)274-4500