A new day is dawning here at RDHAP Connect. We are three years old. We just unveiled our new website which is designed to be simple, uncluttered, and easy to navigate and find what you are looking for. RDHAP Connect was designed to help people not able to visit a regular dental office find a Registered Dental Hygienist in Alternative Practice (RDHAP) to care for their oral health.
If you have been following our posts since the beginning of 2018, you have watched us begin this web-based service with tentative steps, gaining momentum slowly as we began to get the RDHAPs excited about placing their names on the website.
Many people do not know what a registered dental hygienist (RDH) is. We are specially trained to care for your oral health alongside your dentist. It takes at least four (4) years to complete the training and education to practice as a dental hygienist. We are licensed by our states and must take continuing education courses to stay current and meet licensing requirements.
We (and I believe I speak for every hygienist) are dedicated to helping our patients keep their teeth and gums healthy and in their mouths for as long as they need them. Many of us add volunteering at community events and providing oral health education for school children to our routine of working for a dentist. We all do what we can because we know how important having healthy, pain-free teeth can be.
A dental hygienist is trained to safely remove the hard (tartar or calculus) and soft (plaque) deposits from your teeth below your gumlines. A typical appointment begins with reviewing or evaluating your medical history. We want to make sure you are healthy enough to sit through a dental hygiene care appointment. We want to know what medications you take, diseases or conditions you may have, and your oral health history. We want to do what is best for you. What we don’t know can hurt you.
If the RDH is practicing in a dentist’s office, x-rays (radiographs) and an examination have already been completed by the dentist. The dentist will also have completed a thorough medical history, as well.
If the RDH determines he or she can proceed with your care, they will take several measurements and collect information about your gum, dental, and soft tissue health – oral cancer screening, probe for gum and bone health, note where the tartar/calculus is, and ask lots of questions about how you take care of your teeth. The RDH should be informing you of every step and share the plan for your care with you.
What does the dental office visit have to do with the RDHAP appointment? The RDHAP is licensed to provide all dental hygiene services to patients who can’t get to the regular dental office, often due to illness, disability, distance to services, or lack of providers. We can take our practice to these patients. We also work with your dentist to make sure you have regular dental visits and dental care as needed.
The RDHAP sees the patients where they live or attend school. We go through the same steps an RDH in a dental office would do. He or she collaborates with the patient’s dentist or helps them find one to make sure their dental needs are met on a regular basis. Patients still need to see a dentist regularly.
An RDHAP can help the patient and caregiver provide better home care, reducing the risk of getting cavities and gum disease. If you, a family member, or a friend thinks they may qualify for a preventive dental hygiene visit from an RDHAP, go to the map in your area. Find an RDHAP. He or she can help you decide if they can see you or can help you find a dentist.