Kicking dental anxiety to the curb just like bad habits...
“Any shame or embarrassment you have, I would like you to let that go. You made the biggest step of all, which is sitting in my chair. I commend you for taking your oral health needs into consideration, and we are going to work as a team to get you back on track.”
Hygienist of the month: Amanda O'Brien
Amanda O’Brien is being recognized as Slate’s Dental Hygienist of the month for her commitment and passion to oral health, and aiding patients to relieve any anxiety that may come with their dental routine.
As we are sure any dental professional can relate, it can feel helpless when encouraging their patient to take charge of their preventative dental care.
Amanda explains, “As oral health care providers, we are the only people in the world that care more about the health of their mouths than they do. When we go through oral health education, we are not reprimanding them, but trying our best to teach our patients how to prevent oral diseases."
We couldn't agree more! At Slate, we are similarly passionate about easing dental anxiety and ensuring that all people not only understand the importance of preventative dental care but also practice the needed steps to ensure a healthy mouth.
Let's hear more from RDH Amanda O'Brien, a Hygienist who is passionate about helping her patients achieve their best looking smiles with preventative dental care.
What made you want to become a Dental Hygienist?
"Kinda weird, but I absolutely loved getting my teeth cleaned as a kid. My hygienist, Laurie, was always so sweet with me, and I thought “I want to do what she does when I grow up". And I just never strayed from that dream as kid."
If you could give one dental hygiene tip, what would it be?
"Floss every day! Flossing removes the bacteria from between your teeth that if left untouched increases your risk for tooth decay and gum disease."
What is your favorite part about being a Dental Hygienist?
"The relationships I’ve formed with patients over the last 13 years. I’ve had the pleasure of working at the same office now for 11 years, and a lot of my patients are like my family."
What motivates you?
"It doesn’t happen everyday, but when I get a genuine “Thank you”. Wether it’s from taking the time to explain possible root causes for oral health issues being presented. Reviewing brushing and flossing techniques to make them more efficient at plaque removal. Or, just making a patient who felt ashamed coming to their dental appointment after years away more comfortable and in control of their dental care. It’s nice to feel appreciated, and knowing I made a positive impression on someone. That’s what we are all here for."
What do you think is the most important thing a patient gets done at their 6-month appointment?
"Removal of plaque and tartar that gets under the gums that isn’t always reached with brushing and flossing alone. When left undisrupted, this leads to gum disease. Overtime, this also causes the loss of bone. The same pathogens responsible for gum disease are also linked to many systemic health diseases, which is why seeking regular care from your Dentist and Dental Hygienist is so important!"
What is one thing you would tell someone who has dental anxiety?
"In my chair, most of the anxiety surrounding the appointment is past dental traumas with some personal shame attached from the patient not being seen regularly for their care. This is something I would say to them: "
Any shame or embarrassment you have, I would like you to let that go. You made the biggest step of all, which is sitting in my chair. I commend you for taking your oral health needs into consideration, and we are going to work as a team to get you back on track. Is there anything we can do to make things more comfortable along the way? You just let us know.”
What is your favorite part about the Slate Electric Flosser?
"I love that you can reach the backside of the second molars! This device is a game changer for so many patients who do not have the dexterity to floss with traditional methods. Also, I love the eco-friendly aspect of reusable replacement heads!"
Thank you, Amanda, for being passionate, kind, and excellent at your work!
For more tips, you can find Amanda on instagram: @amandaobri_rdh