The main motive of this paper is to examine the profession of Dental Hygienist in a hospital setting and to confer the challenges within the seven dimensions of wellness associated with this profession.
The key role of a dental hygienist is to help and maintain the dental health of the patient’s and prevent the oral health problems that may occur due to the poor oral hygiene habits and techniques. The main reason behind choosing this career is that I have a keen interest in this career from my childhood because I had always thought to serve my nation in a better way. That is why I have chosen this career because it influenced me a lot in it’s every perspective, and it will serve as the best path to accomplish my goal in life.
Considering about any of the seven dimensions of wellness, in today’s world, everyone wants to create a healthy and stable career. From the perspective of wellness, if we talk about physical health then it seems to be a serious problem because physical health is the backbone of all the other seven dimensions of wellness. For my career as a Dental Hygienist, I must face many physical risks for instance, aches and pains which are the regular topics among dental hygienists globally.
Most of the hygienist love to work with patients, yet dental hygiene practices are full of activities which create physical health problems like aching necks, sore hands, or shoulders that prevents the hygienists to deliver quality healthcare services. The basic solution to this problem that I believe is stretching out, eating regular meals, staying hydrated, getting enough sleep and major is exercising regularly can help relax the whole body. I would take these things seriously because if the body is healthy then only I would be able to work in a more efficient way and will able to give better treatment to my patients.
Dental Hygienists also face another big problem in terms of physical health that is work-related musculoskeletal disorders. The amount of pain experienced by hygienists is often believed to be connected to the amount of weekly work hours. What I believe is, this problem can be resolved if I am being a hygienist would reduce my working hours and most probably go for professional massages because this thing would help me a lot to reduce the pain of my body.
The profession of Dental Hygienist demands for effective communication skills because it is a people-focused profession. That is why the main challenge in interpersonal health is lack of communication skills which in turn will prevent the hygienist from properly understanding the patient’s chief complaint. Moreover, due to lack of strong interpersonal communication skills the hygienist will not be able to improve the patient’s health outcomes and satisfaction levels.
The solution to this problem in my opinion will be using the tenets of effective interpersonal communication which can improve the verbal and nonverbal communication skills along with increasing the accuracy of their perceptions and strengthen team collaboration. As I have good communication skills I can overcome this problem easily and can have effective communication with my patients which can also help me to establish strong relationships with them. Interpersonal communication is also useful to educate patients on their oral health status and treatment needs.
Another challenge that can be faced as a Dental Hygienist is conflict management which can weaken stability and productivity and can negatively impact team efficacy. Awareness of differences in opinion, values and beliefs between co-workers and patients can arise conflict. If we talk about the conflict within a dental team it could involve distribution of workload, quality of relationships, and processes or protocols. Therefore, I will try to remove my negative emotions, so that I can be successful in separating the person from the problem to emphasize common interests, common values, and to establish common goals.
One occupational challenge faced by dental hygienists is exposure to radiation which means exposure to both ionising and non-ionising radiation. This challenge is the major challenge because radiographic equipment is commonplace in dental clinics. Exposure to these wavelengths can cause damage to various structures of the eyes, including the cornea, lens and the retina. To minimise this kind of risk it is important that good radiation practice be employed to protect both the dental patient and staff. I will use protective barriers and radiation monitoring badges to prevent myself from exposure and will spread awareness among the patients and staff regarding the proper usage of the radiation and safety measures.
Another occupational challenge faced in this profession is regarding the adequate use of dental biomaterials. All dental biomaterials used in restorative dentistry and endodontics must be biocompatible and safe for both patients and staff. The reason behind their adequate use is that some dental materials is aerosolised during high speed cutting and finishing and may thereby be inhaled by dental staff. Whereas, other dental materials are volatile and may give rise to dermatological and respiratory effects. I will use these dental materials very carefully such that these materials can be useful and safe rather than be affective and dangerous.
One of the most dangerous challenge faced by dental hygienists is anesthetic gases waste in the dental clinic. In this respect, high level of anesthetic gases, such as nitrous oxide, have been measured in the dental clinic during dental procedures. I will take appropriate measures to reduce the release of residual gas during dental anesthesia and will ensure safe dental practice to my patients.
The biggest challenge faced regarding intellectual health is dynamic treatment solutions. Novelty and subsequent introduction of new techniques is something very common and continually noted in the medical sector. In case of dental practices, there are several novel techniques that are being populated which are based on newer research findings which would mean the outdating of numerous conservative techniques.
Along with the techniques there are many new and urbane equipment’s that constantly replace the older models. This would practically mean as a Dentist I must be on the move, dealing with patient concerns along with upgrading my knowledge base and make myself to catch up with latest and contemporary techniques.
Dental Hygienists belong to an inclusive range of occupations which fit under the canopy of paraprofessionals. Intrinsically, they serve as assistants to other professionals. As it is said that associate degree is the traditional entrance for the professions which comes under dentistry. If the dentists want to have a stable career then they must perform up to the mark otherwise, any education beyond this results in frustration. To prevent this kind of frustration in my future career in dentistry I would try to polish my abilities more and more so that I can be able to be a successful dental hygienist with a stable and emotionally healthy career.
A variety of stress related emotional problems have been reported in dental literature in the recent research. These problems include hypertension, marital disharmony, alcoholism, drug addiction, mental depression and suicide. Studies showed that the suicide rate of dentists is more than twice the rate of the general population which is an alarming rate. If we talk about the emotional illness then it ranks third in order of frequency of health problems amongst dentists, whereas in the general population it ranks tenth.
One of the most common emotional challenge faced in this profession is confinement because usually dentists spends most of his or her life confined to a small operatory which is even smaller than the cells in our penal institutions. Because of working their dentists experience fatigue which is very common and tends to burn out the dentist emotionally. To get rid of this situation I will share problems with my fellow practitioners along with that I will learn how to better handle patient anxiety and hostility.
Other than confinement time pressure is also one of the major emotional challenge which means trying to stay on a schedule in a busy dental practice is a chronic source of stress. The best solution to this problem is time management and I will manage my time efficiently and try to create a balance between my personal and professional life.
One facet of spiritual health that dental hygienists come to terms with is their sense of purpose. As we all know that it is very essential for a person to be spiritually active to work effectively in their profession. As a dental hygienist I also need to perform such practices like prayer and meditation because of the daily stress of the work it is needed to relax the mind and body. It is very important that I should know my purpose of life because then only I will be able to have a complete goal for my life which I am going to achieve it in my future and that goal is to become a dental hygienist.
The profession of dental hygienist is full of challenges and to overcome these challenges I need to be spiritually healthy and stable. For this I need to have a daily routine for praying and meditating for 10 minutes either in the morning or before going to sleep. Because it is crucial to devote time to connect with yourself and know who I am and what are my strengths and weaknesses. Another reason to be spiritually stable is that we need social support on every step of our lives because we are humans and we need to interact with other people because then only we can understand the exact meaning of our lives.
Yoga can also be a good option to have healthy mind and beautiful soul. As every profession demands for a good soul because then only we can make healthy relationships with other people and if we have a good personality then we can have a good image in the society and friends and at our work. I can be able to make healthy relationships with my patients if I am a good-natured person and which demands a healthy and sound body.
One of the environmental challenges faced in dental profession is using the dental instruments carefully as ultrasonic scaler can produce dental aerosols containing water, saliva, microorganisms, tooth particles and restorative materials. In this profession, microorganisms and dust particles are common which are present at a substantial concentration. One of the major effects of this problem is that the person must be careful while breathing as the substances may enter the body while inhaling. That is why exposure to airborne substances should be kept as low as is reasonably practicable. I will use face mask and glasses to prevent myself from this problem.
Another environmental challenge is that viable organisms are known to be present in dental surgeries which could also pose risk to both dental staff and patients.
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