100 Years of Dental Hygiene

This year marks the 100th year of the dental hygienist.  When I look at the profession today, vs. what the profession was when I graduated from Northwestern University School of Dental Hygiene in 1976, I can hardly believe all the changes.

  • White caps, white uniforms and no gloves have been replaced with fun scrubs, face masks and protective glasses which protect both the clinician and the patient.
  • Germ ridden paper charts are being replaced by electronic patient records making record keeping actually fun, easy and more comprehensive.
  • Computerized scheduling makes it possible to control your schedule.  No need to have back to back deep scaling patients or a day full of short pedo appointments – unless you want to schedule that way.
  • Paper films and processors with chemicals are replaced with digital sensors which are faster and use far less radiation.  These also allow the patient to actually see what is going on in their mouths creating a better patient experience.
  • Patient education programs like CAESY have replaced flip charts and add consistency and visual learning to help our patents move ahead with treatment.

Through all these changes – a few things have stayed the same.

  • The importance of a good relationship with your dental supplier to keep you informed of what’s new.
  • The importance of your relationship with your patients and the ability to be able to make a change in dental condition, and therefore overall health, of your patients.

Congratulations fellow Dental Hygienists!  Keep growing as our industry presents opportunities, and keep making a difference in the lives of your patients. It’s you who has the power to change lives.

1975 Capping Ceremony
1975 Capping Ceremony – Northwestern University Dental School – Chicago, IL