This article was reprinted with permission from the Canadian Dental Hygienists Association (CDHA) and the author. The article originally appeared in CDHA’s Oh Canada e-Magazine as ” Looking Beyond Clinical Settings to Re-Invent Your Practice of Dental Hygiene” ,Volume 1, Issue 4, page 13. BCDHA thanks CDHA and the author for permission to re-print the article.
Hello! My name is Patricia Blundon and I have been a Registered Dental Hygienist in Ontario for over 20 years. My recent Blog posting on CDHA’s members’ online community forum, titled “Hygienist Designed and Manufactured Clip Mirror™ by DH Essentials”, talks about working in a non-traditional Dental Hygiene setting.
I am the sole owner and operator of DH Essentials™ where I designed and now manufacture and sell the Dental Hygiene Clip Mirror™ under a medical device establishment licence regulated by Health Canada. I also carry titanium dental mouth mirrors as well which are fabricated exclusively for DH Essentials™ by Prodont-Holliger™ in France. (It was important for me to use only the best quality materials.)
One might ask Why? How? or What?, possesses someone to take this direction in her or his career? Others may say Who Cares! Well it’s not for everyone but it was out of sheer necessity and frustration that the Clip Mirror™ came about.
More than 10 years ago on a typical day, with a not so typical patient I will call Patient Y (or WHY ME?), I began the arduous task of dental hygiene treatment. With lips pursed (both his and mine), I picked up my cavitron and began. Next with tongue protruding (just his), water flowing and visibility next to nil, I thought to myself “Why does this have to be so hard? If only there was a way to cavitron, suction and use my mirror all at the same time. And then I thought, envisioned really, a mirror attached to a saliva ejector.
So then, another question. Why not just make one? I can design this clip mirror, because who knows better than a hygienist what a hygienist needs. And then the desire and passion (or obsession as my husband would call it) to make it happen, just took over.
The next step, really the first step, was to patent my idea. I won’t bore you with the details but after hours of patent searching and research, I filed my first patent application. So there it was, patent application was filed and now I could find someone to buy my patent rights and pay a large royalty. But that never happened and I just waited, time flew by.
So many years later with two little boys growing more independent, my mother passing away and the routine of home and work becoming well, routine. I needed some inspiration. So I decided to revisit the clip mirror.
I set out again to sell my Clip Mirror to a major dental supply company. They would not sign agreements to protect my intellectual property. It did not feel right. I e-mailed hygienists in the business looking for advice and direction. One Dental Hygienist in particular took the time to personally call me and encourage me to go it on my own, like those hygienists before me who developed the Blue Boa™, the Dental Rat™ and the MirrorGear™. To that hygienist who took the time to call and inspire me I say “THANK YOU”. One phone call can and did change everything. So maybe one article can inspire one of you to follow your own passion.
In my blog entry, I had mentioned that I found it very disheartening to see so many hygienists looking for work. Well, I am here to encourage you to look beyond those clinical settings and use you career and life skills to re-invent your practice of Dental Hygiene. Let the things that interest, inspire or challenge you, be the catalyst for change. You may need to open that Independent Practice or Mobile Clinic to reach those with limited access to Dental Hygiene care. Maybe you will design and sell your own instruments because who knows better than hygienists what our day is like. You might make a toothbrush that no child can resist or you may design custom oral hygiene travel cases in the shape of hockey sticks, pucks or soccer balls where retainers and mouthguards can be stored during sports play.
Be creative and think about a time when it would be neat to have….(this or that) and then use your innate talents and desires to create it. Envision Dental Hygienists teaming with Naturopaths, Chiropractors or Wellness Centers and being part of a team that embraces oral health as an integral part of comprehensive and complete health and well-being …. But don’t stop there, Think Big!
Patricia Blundon R.D.H., Owner/ Operator DH Essentials
E-mail:firstname.lastname@example.org , Website: www.dhessentials.com
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