What makes a hygienist with fine tactile skills talented and how does this benefit our patients?
A dental hygienist must perfect a good tactile sense to achieve thorough calculus removal. Being able to find where the calculus is and accurately determine what it will take to remove the calculus is a skill essential in root debridement. Having said this, I do see a time when tactile skills will become less important in being an accomplished dental hygienist. Technology can enhance dental hygiene skill levels and contribute to more precise calculus removal. Perioscopy is one such technological advancement that supersedes the need for expert tactile skills. When a dental hygienist uses an endoscope to see the calculus and diseased cementum that is present subgingivally, the need for a good tactile sense becomes less important. The patient benefits from the advanced skills of the dental hygienist and the use of modern technology by remaining or returning to a state of good oral health. A patient who maintains in a state of oral health is a fine example of the strengths of the treating dental hygiene clinician. Nancy Kiehl RDH, MSEd