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Promoting Dental Hygiene

Most oral health professionals don’t consider themselves public relations (PR) experts. After all, our role is to prevent and treat disease. Yet our efforts to improve oral health can be seen as a PR opportunity.

Susanne Kuehl, RDH, BS, IPDH

Most oral health professionals don’t consider themselves public relations (PR) experts. After all, our role is to prevent and treat disease. Yet our efforts to improve oral health can be seen as a PR opportunity. How we relate to our patients while providing education and treatment is important, but how often have you come across these same patients in social settings? What you say and do in these situations are just as important, and help to solidify your “brand” as an oral health professional.

Informing the public about our professional accomplishments elevates not only our profession, but how your patients view you as a health care provider. For example, if you’ve attended an educational program that enhances your knowledge, inform your patients by displaying the certification in your operatory. If you’ve volunteered in the community, let your patients know about it.

I recently read an article about one of our colleagues who opened an independent dental hygiene practice in Maine. Susanne Kuehl, RDH, BS, IPDH, has long advocated for increased access to care. She has served as president of the New Hampshire Dental Hygienists’ Association and is currently the organization’s chair of governmental affairs. Kuehl worked tirelessly to bring independent dental hygiene practice to Maine. So when the state instituted this new practitioner and she opened her own practice, Kuehl made it known through various media outlets.

It’s not difficult to start your own media campaign and promote your brand. Initial efforts take time but can be very rewarding. Here are some ideas:

  • Develop a media contact list of local newspapers and radio and television stations. Identify the individual who is responsible for covering health topics and develop an ongoing relationship.
  • Create a personal media kit of your work experience, awards, honors, testimonials, and photographs. Update it frequently and send it to your contacts.
  • Follow up with your contacts regularly and volunteer to be their local oral health resource. You can send them pertinent articles and offer to write an ongoing column.

PR efforts about our accomplishments can be win/win situations for us and for patients. It’s gratifying to receive recognition for hard work and dedication. And it’s educational for the public to learn more about the dental hygiene profession and how we can improve oral and overall health. Who better to share this information than us? Dental hygiene is our brand—let’s promote it!

 Jill Rethman, RDH, BA
     Editor in Chief
 
  jrethman@belmontpublications.com

To read more about Susanne Kuehl, RDH, BS, IPDH, and her independent dental hygiene practice, visit: fosters.com/news/20180201/hygienist-who-changed-law-now-open-for-business.


From Dimensions of Dental Hygiene. March 2018;16(3):8.

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