Hygiene Spotlight: DeAnna Shannon, RDH

Serving the Underserved, Even During a Crisis

DeAnna Shannon, RDH, says what makes her team so amazing are the patients they serve. Samaritan Dental Clinic is a community clinic in Rogers, Arkansas, that provides free vital oral health care including restorations, extractions, biopsies, dentures, partials, and oral hygiene education to adults and seniors. The team includes, from left, Connie Greenlee, RDA; Kim Freeman, RDA; Lois Hodgson; Jill Self-Pike, DDS; Shannon; and Leah Devorak, RDA. Their patients are uninsured and underserved, and include the mentally and physically disabled, battered women, veterans, and men and women recovering from drug and alcohol addition. Many have never been to a dentist prior to visiting the clinic, and have never received any oral health education. The majority suffer from at least one systemic disease and are not aware of how their oral health impacts their overall health. “Our amazing staff is passionate about the importance of providing oral health education and exceptional care to every patient we serve,” Shannon says. "Our patients are unique with very unique needs, and our amazing team will stop at nothing to meet the needs of our patients and do it all in a loving, compassionate, and professional way! We all truly feel honored to have the opportunity to work together as a team serving our amazing patients and our community.” While the COVID-19 crisis has impacted Samaritan, the team continues to help its patients smile by handing out free hot meals and groceries. “Every day I am thankful to work with such an amazing team,” Shannon says, “but it’s in uncertain times like these that I am most thankful.”

Hygiene Spotlight: Kate Trivett, RDH

Improving Continuing Education Strategy to Benefit Patients

Kate is the ultimate empowered dental hygienist. About 2 years ago, she decided to improve her continuing education strategy by being more intentional with her course selection, because she was inspired by her favorite dental hygiene podcast, “A Tale of Two Hygienists.” She has brought what she’s learned into her two practice locations and transformed her practice with one-hour appointments where she can focus on patients’ overall well-being in addition to their oral health. Kate takes blood pressure on every patient, and she has identified cancer on multiple patients. In addition, she found nodules on a long-time patient’s thyroid, which ultimately led to the patient’s thyroidectomy. Kate is having more fun now and is seen as an invaluable team member by her dental team and patients. We look forward to keeping an eye on Kate, as her next order of business is to learn more about airway disorders and further her knowledge regarding the ever-growing link between oral and general health. Way to go, Kate!

Hygiene Spotlight: Carly Wilkins, RDH, and Stephanie Signore, RDH

A Hygiene Team that Does it All

In this progressive dental practice, Courtney Lavigne, DMD, employs only clinical team members, and the dental hygienists are a part of all aspects of patient care. Carly Wilkins, RDH, and Stephanie Signore, RDH, along with Lavigne and the rest of the team, conduct weekly meetings to discuss the needs of all of the patients that week. In addition, they meet daily for a quick review of the patients on the schedule, so everyone in the office is prepared for the day. Wilkins and Signore are involved with all aspects of the patients’ care, from confirming insurance coverage, to providing dental hygiene services, making appointments, and checking them out at the end. In addition, it is common for Carly and Stephanie to come into a restorative visit to see how problems that were identified during their hygiene visits look like once the tooth is prepared and then restored. These hygienists have so much knowledge beyond clinical hygiene, and they are invaluable members of this team.

Hygiene Spotlight: Meg Atwood, RDH, MPS

Independent Educator on Behalf of Waterpik, Inc.

Meg Atwood, professor in the Dental Hygiene Department, has been a dedicated faculty member at SUNY Orange in Middletown, New York, for 36 years. She teaches head and neck anatomy, embryology and histology, and clinical instrumentation, and she supervises in the clinic. She also teaches oral health prevention and public health; both courses, her students can attest, are a passion of hers. Meg’s dedication has positively impacted not only her students but also countless individuals who have benefitted from her advocacy for the promotion of water fluoridation and the promotion of oral health, on a community, state, and national level. In addition, she is extensively published and has provided continuing education courses, served on the peer review board of several dental hygiene publications, and reviewed content for dental hygiene textbooks.

SUNY Orange has recognized her commitment and has awarded her the SUNY Orange President’s Award for Excellence in Teaching and the SUNY Chancellor’s Award for Excellence in Teaching.

When asked what advice she would offer to our readers, she said, “Use evidence-based science. Do all you can to prevent dental disease. Dental decay is preventable, but if we miss our chance, it’s gone. See children before the age of 1 for their first dental screening and then at appropriate intervals after. Support water fluoridation. Collaborate with other healthcare professionals in any way you can. It’s our future. Support your colleagues. We are all in this together and we can all be winners. It's not a competition. Be an active member of the ADHA.” She continued by saying, “I have been in this profession for a long time. I still love it, and I think I am more passionate about prevention, teaching, and learning than ever. How lucky am I?”

How lucky are we to have a colleague like Meg?!

Is your hygiene team amazing?

We want to hear about it! Send us a team photo with a few words about how great you work together for a chance to be featured on our social media. One lucky team will also be included in our next issue! Send your entries to: idhteam@aegiscomm.com