Dental hygienists learn how to use LM-Activator™ already during their studies. In everyday practice, they are able to treat their patients and offer guidance very independently in accordance with the instructions provided by the orthodontist. In this article, Jaana Manneros, orthodontic teacher, describes how orthodontics is taught in the degree program of dental hygiene offered by the Turku University of Applied Sciences, and Elina Perkkiö, dental hygienist, explains the role of LM-Activator™ eruption guidance appliances in her everyday work.
Orthodontics as a part of the training of dental hygienists
The training of dental hygienists takes about 3.5 years in total. At the Turku University of Applied Sciences, The Basics of Orthodontics study module is offered in the spring of the second year and covers the theoretical basis of the development of occlusion, deviations in occlusion, malocclusions, and the prerequisites for orthodontic treatment. During practical training, the students prepare plaster impressions of their own teeth and learn about the role of the dental hygienist in orthodontic treatment.
In the fall of their third year, the students move on to more advanced studies on various types of orthodontic appliances – including LM-Activators™ – and learn how to construct fixed appliances in practice: The students
learn about separation, selection of bands, cementation, welding of tubes, fixation of brackets, ligation, removal of fixed appliances, and self-care. They also practice both putting in and removing retention wires.
The curriculum also includes practical exercises with LM-Activator™ eruption guidance appliances in the fall of the third year. The students use LM-OrthoSizer™ to measure the plaster impressions they previously prepared and select a suitable size of appliance based on the measurement results. The students try on various LM-Activator™ models, testing the appliances in their own mouth, and select a suitable model and size for themselves in adherence with the LM™ guidelines.
When the students move on to working life, they will continue to learn a great deal from working side by side with orthodontists, because all orthodontic specialists have their own way of working.
Jaana Manneros, orthodontic teacher, Turku University of Applied Sciences
LM-Activator brings independence to the dental hygienist’s work
The dental hygienist works relatively independently when it comes down to treatment with LM-Activator™ eruption guidance appliances. The dental hygienist measures and estimates the most suitable appliance for the mouth of the patient to ensure the right size, instructs the patient in the use of the appliance, and motivates the patient to use it. The dental hygienist also carries out follow-up, monitoring the development of the patient’s occlusion and the condition of the appliance, and checking that the appliance has been used according to the orthodontist’s instructions.
LM-Activator™ is comfortable and easy to use for both the patient and the dental hygienist just starting out as a member of the orthodontic team. Selecting a suitable appliance size and fitting it to the patient are simple
procedures. If needed, the appliance can be easily adjusted to relieve any pressure, for example. There is no need for a large assortment of complicated orthodontic equipment in the treatment room. Teaching patients how
to use the appliance is easily done. Dental hygienists usually have many tips and tricks on how to motivate the patients to use the appliances!
The role of the dental hygienist also involves follow-up and identifying possible problems
Starting treatment with LM-Activator™ sometimes comes with challenges, such as the appliance falling out during the night and the patient finding it on their pillow the next morning. It can sometimes be difficult for the dental
hygienist to determine if the patient needs more motivation and guidance in the use of the appliance, or if the root of the problem lies somewhere else, such as in the patient’s inability to breathe through the nose.
Monitoring the use of the appliance with a motivational calendar kept by the patient is a good idea, especially in the beginning of treatment. Filling in the calendar and reviewing the entries together during dental appointments can also be a good way to motivate the patient.
Follow-up appointments are needed only every 2 to 3 months, which is much less often than in orthodontic treatment carried out with fixed orthodontic appliances, for example. The dental hygienist can refer a child
undergoing orthodontic treatment to an orthodontist for examination or consultation, for example when the desired stage of tooth eruption has been reached, or when specific occlusion ratios (molar ratio and overbite)
have been reached.
The dental hygienist guides and motivates, but success is always the result of cooperation
When used correctly and regularly, LM-Activator™ helps achieve the desired treatment results. I feel that dental hygienists play a key role in teaching and motivating patients to use removable orthodontic appliances. In addition to teaching and motivating the child, it is also important to guide and motivate the parents, because they are the ones who support the child at home every day and are in a position to contribute to the success of treatment. Treatment with LM-Activator™ is always a team effort between dental professionals, the patient, and the patient’s parents.
In many regions, LM-Activator™ is already being used by the second generation. Many of today’s adults remember receiving orthodontic treatment with LM-Activator™ in their childhood and are very much looking forward to their children getting an appliance of their own. They know how easily and comfortably LM-Activator™ can help align teeth into the correct position.
Elina Perkkiö, dental hygienist
LM-Activator™ article no 3