Reconnecting Practicing Hygienists with the Nation's Leading Educators and Researchers.

A Leader in Dental Hygiene

Dimensions of Dental Hygiene Brand Ambassador Lisa Hardill, RDH, BHADM, talks about her efforts to further the profession across Canada.

Lisa Hardill, RDH, BHADM
Lisa Hardill, RDH, BHADM

As a teen growing up in Canada, Lisa Hardill, RDH, BHADM, kick-started her career in dental hygiene while in high school by joining a co-op program that let her spend one day a week in a dental office. This hands-on experience sparked Hardill’s passion to learn more about the field. Now, her diverse background in dentistry and dental hygiene includes experience in public health, independent and private practice, education, and sales.

Over the past 15 years, Hardill has held numerous positions in dental hygiene—from a quality assurance peer assessor for the College of Dental Hygienists of Ontario (CDHO), to a noncouncil member of CDHO’s Registration Committee, to a member of the Board of Directors for Gift from the Heart (an organization that provides no-cost dental hygiene care to underserved communities and emphasizes the role of the dental hygienist as a primary oral health care provider).

Adept at consulting and educating dental practices on products and techniques to enhance the patient experience, Hardill currently works for Oral Science, a Quebec-based company that provides solutions for patients with high-caries risk, periodontitis, peri-implantitis, oral cancer, oral lesions, and xerostomia, and shares her perspective on current dental hygiene topics in a personal blog: strictlydentalpro.com. She chatted with Dimensions of Dental Hygiene about her extensive dental hygiene career.

As a dental hygienist practicing in Canada, what are some key issues that dental hygienists will need to advocate for over the next few years?

At the top of the list is access to care. We have Canadian initiatives and organizations working toward improving access to care and looking at removing barriers, such as Gift from the Heart and public health programs. I hope this continues to grow. We also need to continue efforts to ensure dental hygiene education expands to a standard baccalaureate degree across the country. This is a critical step to further future dental hygiene-related research and credibility in our role on the oral health care team. Finally, we need to advocate for national standards of practice. At this time, the scope of practice varies depending on the province. Continued efforts are needed to streamline standards, as legislation across the country should support dental hygienists in their ability to prescribe radiographs, provide local anesthesia, and practice independently.

How have you made an impact on the dental profession?

I believe I have made the greatest impact thus far during the 10 years I spent providing peer assessing with CDHO. I was able to be part of annual workshops to advance the quality assurance (QA) process, assess hundreds of QA records to ensure standards of practice and guidelines were being met, provide on-site assessments to discuss practice activities, and review records and chart entries. This was such a powerful learning process. Supporting fellow dental hygienists and bringing awareness to areas that needed improvement had a ripple effect throughout our profession.

How can clinicians and medical professionals work together to improve patients’ overall health? 

There needs to be improved communication strategies and collaboration that are welcomed by both health and oral health professionals. Dental hygienists are providing so much more than prophylaxis or tooth-saving; we are aiding in inflammation reduction and are at the forefront of recognizing critical signs and symptoms that need to be shared with medical providers. A team approach is needed to contribute to overall health and wellness. When the medical and dental profession come to a common understanding, that’s when we will see things start to change.

How has your diverse background shown you the role oral health plays in overall health?

I  have been blessed to see the importance of how oral health impacts general health through many lenses. I’ve seen the repercussions people can experience as a result of dental pain and poor oral hygiene, and I understand how these experiences affect mental and physical well-being. It all comes down to improving early assessment and intervention strategies, and each type of practice environment plays a huge part in this. This is really what led me to Oral Science, specifically to be part of educating dental professionals on how silver diamine fluoride can be used to meet the needs of those who have limited options in the treatment of active dental caries, with the ultimate goals of improving quality of life and lightening the load on the Canadian health care system.

How can clinicians and medical professionals work together to improve patients’ overall health?

There needs to be improved communication strategies and collaboration that are welcomed by both health and dental care professionals. Dental hygienists are providing so much more than prophylaxis or tooth-saving, we are aiding in inflammation reduction and are at the forefront of noting critical signs and symptoms that need to be shared with medical providers. A team approach is needed to contribute to overall health and wellness. When the medical and dental profession come to a common understanding, that’s when we will see things start to change.

How do you hope to impact the profession in 2020?

I am excited to work toward inspiring registered dental hygienists to want more, not only through my role with Oral Science, but also with my blog and Instagram platform. One of my top goals is to continue to help support dental professionals to move toward providing comprehensive assessments, services, and recommendations that are focused on inflammation reduction that will not only improve oral health but their general health as well. I also want to continue to help motivate dental professionals to get out of the routine of just scaling and ask themselves and their patients the hard questions. I am passionate about sharing the message that individualized oral hygiene instruction and education are just as important as dental treatment, and this needs to be at the forefront of everything we do.

Is there a topic you feel strongly about?

The young, middle-aged, and elderly need care, and too often people are going without. Every person deserves the right to access dental treatment. I feel that those in financial hardship, as well as those living in remote areas, should be at the top of the list for future policy decisions.

If there were more hours in the day I would…

As a mother, wife, daughter, sister, friend, registered dental hygienist, and Oral Science consultant, each day brings a variety of priorities. However, if I had more hours, I would sit down with my boys and find out all the little details of their days. Being a mom is one of the most precious responsibilities I am blessed to have.

What keeps you awake at night?

How the dental industry needs to change and we have so much opportunity to impact someone’s life.

What motivates you?

A challenge and a need to find out the “why.” I thrive off learning and knowing as much as I can about our industry. When someone asks a question and I don’t know the answer, this actually excites me and motivates me to dig deep and find out as much as possible.

What’s ahead for dental hygienists?

I believe the future will include increased scope of practice, growing awareness of our role, and co-collaboration with medical professionals. I see cardiologists, for example, employing register dental hygienists as part of their teams.

How do you balance work and life?

Carve out times that work cannot interfere with family. Understand that saying no is OK.


Connect with Lisa Hardill, RDH, BHADM

@strictlydentalpro
Lisa Hardill

strictlydentalpro.com


To learn more about Dimensions’ Ambassador Program, visit: dimensionsofdentalhygiene.com/apply.

From Dimensions of Dental Hygiene. November 2019;17(10):16.

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