The arrival of the fall season coincides with a noteworthy event - National Dental Hygiene Month. Throughout the month of October, we celebrate the pivotal contributions of dental hygienists. These skilled professionals work alongside dentists to provide essential dental care services to communities, ensuring that smiles remain healthy and shining. However, in an industry that is rapidly evolving, hygienists must stay informed about changes in clinical techniques, technology, patient expectations, and communication preferences. The future holds exciting opportunities for hygienists, and Heartland Dental is dedicated to supporting them in preparing for this dynamic landscape.
“With change comes opportunity, especially for hygienists,” said Lori S. Hall, CDA, LDH, Sr. Hygiene Director of Operations. “And Heartland Dental is committed to supporting hygienists in preparing for the future by providing them with the necessary education, tools, and resources to excel in their profession.”
Onboarding Process and Education Opportunities
Heartland Dental is renowned for its world-class education programs, offering exceptional opportunities for supported doctors, hygienists, and team members to enhance their clinical, business, and leadership skills. The focus on professional development equips hygienists with the tools and knowledge to excel in various aspects of their role.
Hygienists at Heartland Dental are encouraged to expand their skills beyond clinical expertise, with impactful opportunities that bolster their leadership skills. A prime example is Heartland Dental's unique Communications Class, which enhances personal and team effectiveness by strengthening communication among teams and with patients.
Ashley V. Greco, a supported hygienist, highlights the importance of communication in the hygienist-patient relationship. "Communication plays a significant role in explaining 'why' treatments are recommended and educating patients about oral care. Heartland Dental understands this pivotal role and offers invaluable communication training, ensuring that patients receive the care they deserve."
She continued, “That’s what is so priceless about Heartland Dental. They understand the pivotal role hygienists play in helping our patients understand “the why” behind treatments. I’m very lucky and grateful that I have been able to build my skills set so I can help ensure my patients receive the care they deserve.”
“By providing comprehensive training and resources, we are creating a thriving environment where hygienists can flourish and make a positive impact in the dental industry,” stressed Timothy Quirt, DDS, MBA Senior Vice President of Clinical Operations. “Our goal is to continue to provide access to opportunities so supported hygienists can maximize their potential.”
Excellence in Technology
Technology is revolutionizing the dental industry, and Heartland Dental is at the forefront of this transformation. The company invests thoughtfully in the latest dental technology and equipment, empowering supported doctors and hygienists to enhance patient care and efficiency.
Dr. Timothy Quirt, Senior Vice President of Clinical Operations, explains, "Hygienists in Heartland Dental supported practices have access to state-of-the-art tools and resources that enable them to deliver high-quality care."
“A great example of being able to use technology to improve patient care is bone loss, explained Ashley. “In the past if a patient was experiencing bone loss, we were only able to raise that flag when the bone loss was already very pronounced. However, with AI we are able to flag bone loss rate increases extremely early on. This puts us in a good position to intervene before more serious health conditions develop. And because of AI we can physically show our patients an image and walk them through something they may not be able to see. This helps them understand and see the “why” treatment is being recommended.”
Heartland Dental's commitment to hygienists is deeply embedded in its culture. As the largest employer of hygienists in the nation, the company continually seeks ways to support these essential clinical providers.
“Whether it's interacting with patients, collaborating with peers, or working alongside doctors, we foster success at every level for our supported hygienists,” stated Lori S. Hall, CDA, LDH, Sr. Hygiene Director of Operations. “We want to ensure their experience is the best in the industry.”
Ashley's advice to hygienists considering joining a Heartland Dental supported practice is to give it a try. “I know from experience that Heartland Dental stays true to its values by doing the right things for the right reasons. This is truly a rewarding and fulfilling job. I cannot wait to see what my future holds!”
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