Hinman Connects Blog

Prevent Injury and Enhance Career Longevity with Reinforced Instrumentation Strategies
Posted: 1/4/2018

No longer is scaling exclusively about calculus removal. It is about calculus removal and protecting oneself from injury. Utilizing reinforced instrumentation techniques that require scaling teeth with two hands instead of one will ensure optimum performance and promote occupational health and career longevity.


Imagine working in your profession as a dental hygienist without ever experiencing work-related musculoskeletal pain. Your confidence in being pain-free is based on your knowledge in utilizing protective instrumentation strategies and ergonomic skills that you learned in school. You are probably thinking that this freedom would be difficult to imagine if you are experiencing work-related pain. However, there is good news! There are new innovative techniques available and it’s never too late to change!


Reinforced periodontal instrumentation techniques can extend career longevity in the field of dental hygiene that has documented evidence of ergonomic disorders. For years, dental hygienists have been using the conventional technique to scale teeth. This technique only allows the hygienist to scale with one hand while holding the mirror in the other hand. New innovative reinforced scaling techniques require the operator to use direct vision while scaling with both hands. These techniques allow the non-dominant hand to assist and reinforce the dominant hand while primarily using extraoral fulcrums. Utilizing extraoral fulcrums and reinforced scaling techniques allow implementation of protective ergonomic hand, wrist, and arm positions. The use of magnification coupled with reinforced techniques also assists the hygienist to not compromise ergonomic posture to clearly see the working area.


If a dental professional has had carpal tunnel syndrome, tendinitis, or arthritis, the reinforced techniques will help prevent increased injury by utilizing both hands and allow the usage of larger muscle groups in the arms versus the smaller muscle groups in the hands. Furthermore, we all know that two hands are better than one!


Diane Millar, RDH, MA, graduated from the West Los Angeles College dental hygiene program in 1981. Her career in dental hygiene has embraced working in private practice and teaching advanced instrumentation techniques at USC, Cerritos College and currently at West Coast University.  She is an international speaker throughout the US and in Canada and is also the published author of Reinforced Periodontal Instrumentation and Ergonomics for the Dental Care Provider.

Diane is also a Continuing Education Provider for the California Dental Board and conducts seminars and hands-on workshops to help dental professionals learn how to practice more efficiently and ergonomically safe to ensure career longevity. 


She will speak at the 106th Hinman Dental Meeting, March 22-24, 2018 and her course information can be found here



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