Q: What should I look for when hiring a dental hygienist?
A: Make sure your hygienists are personable, competent, and a team player. Hygienists can make or break a practice. They’re not the engine that drives a practice’s profitability (that’s you), but they’re the oil that keeps it all going, both internally among the team and in interactions with patients.
As a practice owner, your hygienists are your front line in patient management. A good hygienist has the ability to build personal relationships with patients that you often don’t have the time for.
Just because it’s obvious, doesn’t make it any less true: each hygienist should be clinically proficient. Every practice is unique and emphasizes different treatments and philosophies. However, the fundamentals should all be there.
A competent, trusted hygienist can prime a patient for potential treatment needs before you come in for the exam, increasing the patient’s acceptance of your diagnosis and subsequent patient satisfaction.
By nature, most private dental practices are like mini families so the success of your practice is very much linked to the cohesion of you and your staff.
Look for a hygienist that takes teamwork seriously. Hygienists that happily help out around the office, even if it’s not in their job description. Expect that your hygienists are encouraging to their co-workers and pleasant to be around.
You and your hygienists form the core of your office culture. So find hygienists who are personable, confident, competent, and team players. You don’t want just another employee on payroll. If you can find a hygienist that fits the bill, patients and staff members will stick with you for the long haul, and you can leave your office each day with one less worry — actually, many fewer worries.