Dental hygienists are one of the most important employees in a practice, other than the dentist themselves. They are responsible for patient education, assisting the dentist, cleaning teeth etc. Most patients will have to spend some time with the hygienist who will assess the health of their teeth/gums and communicate any issues to the dentist so that the best course of treatment can be prescribed.
There are many qualities to look for when hiring a hygienist, the most crucial being motivation, energy, good communication skills and manual dexterity. A dental hygienist’s job is very demanding and requires the employee to be on their feet for extended hours. Bending over patients’ mouths for long stretches of time is also taxing on their shoulders and back. A person who does not have the energy or stamina will not be happy while doing the job and this can easily lead to unsatisfactory work on your clients’ gums.
Motivation is another factor that contributes greatly to a hygienist’s quality of work. When interviewing someone for this position, try and ascertain why they chose this occupation. Unlike other jobs, medical professionals need to be motivated by something other than just making money. If your employee does not care about people’s oral health, it’ll be difficult for him/her to persuade clients in following good preventive care habits. Even worse, a lack of motivation can be detected easily by your patients and this will reflect poorly on your practice.
A good portion of a hygienist’s time is spent in educating patients and communicating their problems to the dentist. So it is vital for them to have good listening skills as well as the ability to empathize. As a lot of people are afraid of visiting the dentist, the hygienist must be able to put them at ease by talking to them and being friendly. This is especially critical if your practice specializes in pediatrics or has a significant number of elderly patients.
A hygienist often needs to handle medical tools and use x-rays and lasers as part of their daily routine. They need to have technical knowledge of all equipment being used and good hand eye coordination so that they do not add to the pain being experienced by the client already. Hiring a dental hygienist can make or break a successful dental practice, so be sure to take your time and not gloss over this extremely crucial role.