Education: Loyola University of Chicago
RDH: 30+ years
Practiced: 20 years

Theresa Biernat, RDH, BS, MBA
Theresa Biernat, RDH, BS, MBA
Product Manager - Power Scaling

Question

Why do you love Dental Hygiene?

Answer

I think at the heart of dental hygiene there is the desire to simply do good - to perform procedures and provide education which results in a better quality of life for the patients we serve. I found great satisfaction in working with patients to achieve and maintain healthy and functional dentitions that will serve them well throughout all phases of life. Dental hygiene is also a wonderful career as it can be the platform for a wide variety of additional healthcare related opportunities. Dental hygienists “speak the language” not only of dentistry, but of healthcare. They have very strong science backgrounds – including courses in anatomy, physiology, chemistry, biology, nutrition, oral morphology. This incredible healthcare/science foundation, combined with some additional knowledge, possibly in areas such as business, public health or education, can serve as a springboard to opportunities with medical/dental manufacturers, hospitals, government, pharmaceutical companies, education and other healthcare related entities. Dental hygiene is truly a profession where one can choose to advance healthcare through daily clinical practice or through other complementary opportunities.

Question

When you were practicing regularly, what was your proudest moment?

Answer

My best moment practicing dental hygiene occurred when I was working at the Illinois State Dental Society’s Mission of Mercy event. Actually, this was a moment not so much filled with pride but, rather, awe for being a small part of an event that helped hundreds of people-- most who had never visited a dental office so their dental needs were complex. I, along with hundreds of volunteers, worked in a temporary, unfamiliar environment without my regular procedural set-ups, providing care to many patients. The support, camaraderie, and focus on providing great clinical care without the typical daily distractions was evident, but most touching was the appreciation expressed by so many patients – patients who were so thankful to have pain alleviated, to be able to chew again, and frankly, to be able to feel their teeth again and smile unashamedly once the debris was removed. This was certainly more triage than spa dentistry - and I’ll never forget the incredible and exceeding gratitude expressed to me by so many patients for doing what was just my job.

Question

How does being an RDH help you in your job at Hu-Friedy?

Answer

Being an RDH allowed me to gain knowledge of the nuances of providing dental hygiene care to a wide range of patients in a variety of office settings. At Hu-Friedy, when I work on any project such as developing new products or creating educational materials, foremost in my mind is the consideration of practical aspects of how the project can advance dental hygiene and help dental hygienists practice more effectively and efficiently.

Question

What do you do to support RDHs in the field?

Answer

Like all practicing dental hygienists I have experienced both enjoyment and challenge in working to provide the best care possible for my patients. Hu-Friedy has provided me the opportunity to analyze those challenges and work on solutions that hopefully can provide hygienists with better products, knowledge and information that ultimately result in the best patient care possible.

Question

Why do you believe in Hu-Friedy products/the Hu-Friedy brand?

Answer

Over the years, I’ve used many different brands and types of instruments. I recall working in a practice whereby, for economic reasons, we switched from purchasing new instruments to retipping. I thought this indeed will be the holy grail of instrument replacement—new instrument tips! Purchased more often because they were cheaper than complete new instruments! What more could a hygienist want? I was wrong. The retipped instruments stayed sharp for one or two scalings and were then truly duller than our non-retipped scalers which had been used for months. And the retipped instruments corroded when autoclaved. A lesson learned – and reinforced when I went to work at another practice where a hygienist there told me, prior to her hiring, she had the dentists sign a “contract,” created by her, stating they would always purchase Hu-Friedy instruments for her for as long as she worked in their practice. How brazen! I had never heard of that being done before – but she was adamant that she would use nothing less than Hu-Friedy. With that little “contract,” the hygienists won, the office won, the patients won. With 5 hygienists sharing Hu-Friedy instruments and heavy patient loads, we never had a concern about our instruments—we knew we had the best. We could focus on providing top notch patient care without worries about the quality of the instruments used to produce that care. As my career has taken me to Hu-Friedy, I see firsthand how this commitment to quality and performance permeates every area of the company. Products undergo rigorous development and testing to ensure they perform optimally and the result can be “worry free” hygiene days like I experienced using only Hu-Friedy instruments.