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June 29, 2016

“He is very afraid of chairs,” the mom said as I started to lay the chair back. “He will not even sit in a high top chair at a restaurant. We’ve had to change tables because he went into a meltdown about the chairs.”

This was not a two-year-old. His mother was talking about her seven-year-old son who was unnaturally afraid of chairs that were high, or of any seat that moved. She seemed disgusted by her son’s fear and was not at all supportive.

“He just needs to get over it,” she exclaimed.

This is an example of someone’s sensory input going awry. People rely on their senses to provide both good and bad feedback about their environment. Sometimes this very important system can go awry and problems come up, such as sensory processing disorder (SPD).

Unlike special needs patients with physical disabilities that others can easily see, the symptoms of patients with behavioral disorders such as sensory processing disorder are often not apparent. This disorder is often not even realized by parents until much later in their child’s life.

SPD is chronicled in the book, “The Out-of-Sync Child.” As with other disorders, there are broad ranges of severity. The American Academy of Pediatrics has not made it its own diagnosis because it often coexists with other disorders. It can overlap with ADHD and autism spectrum disorder, as well as Asperger’s syndrome. If a dental clinician is educated about the disorder, this can help the parent and child achieve success with the child’s oral health care in the clinical setting and at home. This article will shed light on the disorder so that dental clinicians can provide a more stress-free dental visit for everyone.

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June 7, 2016

Who is NDHA becoming? What changes are happening in Dental Hygiene? How can NDHA help develop dental hygiene in Nebraska? What is this ADHA charter agreement? How can NDHA do more for its members?

These are the questions that the board of directors have been wrestling with for the last year during my Presidential term. Who are we becoming?

I feel the better question is, who are our members becoming?

Recently, with the discussion of California leaving the association, that has become the question in my mind. The most important thought I have is who is in control of your profession, is it you? Is it dentistry? Is it ADHA?

We continue to try to advance the scope of dental hygiene practice. This advances the art of science of what we do best, prevention and health promotion. But I wonder, can we really ask for advancement and then be unwilling to work to advance our own personal employment situations?

The “average” hygienist. What exactly is an “average” hygienist? I am a clinical hygienist with 20 years of experience in a general practice. I do not feel like an “average” hygienist. If we continue to call ourselves “average” then won’t we continue to be treated as an “average” employee?

This new charter agreement has faced some recent controversy. NDHA did explore this agreement and all it had within it. The board determined that it was not in Nebraska’s best interest to go at it alone. We were not going to see any changes on the constituent level due to this agreement with ADHA. As I mentioned in previous newsletter articles and at the general membership meeting, we must thank our previous leaders for having the forethought to incorporate NDHA, file our 990 tax returns with the IRS, to institute the financial oversight necessary to protect NDHA and the liability coverage necessary to protect the volunteer leadership that steer the strategic direction of NDHA. All of these business practices are what is being required within the ADHA charter agreement. NDHA as an organization was already following the guidelines within the charter agreement; simply put this as an affiliation agreement. For NDHA it meant putting onto paper what we had already been doing for several years and giving ADHA our commitment to continue doing the same better business practices. Therefore, I again applaud and thank our very visionary past leaders for your professionalism in developing NDHA.

The most impact of this charter agreement is falling upon the components. This meant the components had to make a decision as to how they want to run their portion of the business; incorporated or unincorporated. By becoming incorporated this would have a substantial financial impact on the component. My advice to the component leadership was to think about what is sustainable for the long term and what would be best for the membership of their components.

It came to the leadership’s attention that we had components doing very well and others that were struggling. The components that were successful had a larger population base and had much better access to continuing education. The remaining components were struggling to even provide one or two programs. It was determined that once the components made their decisions, NDHA would then need to take a very hard look at programing and what can be offered to members for a better and more efficient association educational program and the other supportive programs we want to provide to our members.

The component members voted in all components to remain unincorporated. This now means that changes are needed to NDHA bylaws and governance structure. This is when the board developed the new strategic plan and new governance structure for NDHA. This is a new beginning or rebirth for NDHA as an association. Change is difficult and uncomfortable, but it is necessary for the changes to occur in order for NDHA to remain sustainable for the member hygienists in Nebraska. It is time for the leaders to change their beliefs about NDHA; this will help them lead a new NDHA association.

This brings me back to my early comment, “Who are we becoming?” We are becoming more business savvy and more sustainable for the future and the new governance structure will hopefully begin to rebuild our leadership development program and mentor hygienists into those leadership positions.

What is the hygiene profession becoming? A more professional, more business savvy profession. Not one of us is an “average” hygienist. We are all primary health care providers, in my opinion. We see patients more often than medical practitioners. Thus, we can help interact with patients more often ready to identify health risks such as high blood pressure, systemic diseases, diabetes complications, etc. WE are not average. Therefore, we do not need an average association.

The one comment made by the California Association is that ADHA has not been doing anything for them. As a non-average hygienist I can say that ADHA has done a lot for us. We utilize their staff for membership management, continuing education materials, the Access magazine, the Journal of Dental Hygiene, and for me leadership development and mentorship. ADHA provides a collaborative environment to grow and learn, to become…a non-average primary health care provider. I do not appreciate the average label, if we think of ourselves as average then that is what we will always be to the healthcare community. As a profession we must keep striving for highest quality, which will help all of us attain the respect we desire in any employment situation we may work within.

I urge the Nebraska Hygienists to make a choice to not be average. To take a stand and be proud of whom you are and the care we provide to patients. There are no “average” hygienists in this profession. There are certainly plenty if imperfect employment situations occurring across our nation. Each state has their own labor laws and department of labor. The association is not designed to handle labor disputes with each and every small business owner. The employee needs to take responsibility for your employment situation. If you are in fact feeling like you are not being treated or paid in an unfair manner or in an illegal manner, then make the choice to take on the situation yourself. Contact your tax advisor, the department of labor and/or legal counsel. The association is here as a resource to help navigate issues, and lobby to change laws to help protect and advance dental hygiene in Nebraska. However, we are unable to “fix” all items, we ask for your partnership to address these issues. WE need hygienists to feel empowered to effect change on their own.

I urge hygienists to create a vision for your career. A clear vision is not created in one day. The leaders of our past did not know what they were setting out to do. They all did one thing in common. Dream… The path won’t always be well lit. Each time there is light it may only lead you to the next step. Start with a simple framework and then move on from there, your vision will not be crystal clear at all times, and it certainly may not always be easy. It may be a bit unstable at times. Be brave, strong and take each step and once you reach the end of each path then you will be able to look into the rear view mirror and see how much you have grown in yourself and your profession. Become courageous. NDHA is here to help as a resource; we cannot do everything alone. We will stand with you to help navigate the rickety path to your vision.


I ask you to think upon these questions:

  • How different would our profession be if we all had one extra hour of courage over the past decade?
  • Who are we becoming?
  • How different would things be if we built an emphasis on courage into our lives?


Be Courageous, Dream. Take the helm and steer your vision.

Written by Erin Haley RDH, MS, PHRDH, OM

NDHA Immediate Past President





“Who are You becoming?” 2014 by Jonathan Flanning

“Are you Ready to Change?” 2016 by Michael E. Frisina



June 3, 2016

Treating patients with Alzheimer’s disease can be very challenging. Here are several helpful suggestions that can make the appointment more positive and beneficial for the patient, the caregiver, and the clinician.

You may know that June is Alzheimer’s and Brain Awareness Month. As hygienists, we are coming in contact with more and more dementia patients. Unless some close to us has suffered dementia, we may not really understand the whole spectrum of the disease. This article will focus on simple, practical considerations you can incorporate into your practice when you care for these patients.

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March 7, 2016


2016 NDHA Annual Session Front Page


For two days in April, dental hygienists from across the state come together in Lincoln to take advantage of leading education programming, share ideas and learn about products applicable to everyday work life. WHY SHOULD YOU ATTEND?

  • Up to 16 hours of continuing education available, featuring sessions delivered by nationally recognized, knowledgeable speakers
  • Attend the President’s reception where the annual awards for NDHA will be presented. This is also a great way to network with others in an upbeat atmosphere while enjoying food and drinks!
  • This year we revamped the Product presentation!
  • With an anticipated attendance of more than 300 dental hygienists, networking opportunities are plentiful!
  • Students from Iowa Western, CCC, and UNMC will have table clinics!

Ideally located in the heart of downtown Lincoln, Nebraska, the Embassy Suites Lincoln hotel provides easy access to many of the city’s most popular attractions. The hotel offers an array of spacious and beautifully furnished suites and executive rooms. A block of rooms has been reserved for April 22-23, 2016. The discounted rate will be available until March 31st or until the group block is sold out, whichever comes first. Contact the Embassy Suites at: 402-474-1111 or use the link below to reserve your room online.



Crown Seating Saddle StoolWin this saddle chair by Crown Seating!  Purchase your raffle tickets on your registration form!


Download Logistics/Hotel Information

Download Speakers/Session Information

Download Agenda

Download Registration Form

February 26, 2016

Speaker of the Legislature, Senator Galen Hadley, has included LB 901 as one of his twenty-five Speaker Priority Bills.  What that means is that, all things being equal, LB 901 will see floor consideration and become law this session of the Legislature.

The only caveat that needs to be added to this is that we are assuming there will be sufficient floor time for LB 901 to get to the top of the daily agenda before the session adjourns on April 13 or April 20.  The fact that LB 901 has been “worked out” by the parties involved, significantly increases its chances of making it onto the floor for consideration by the entire Legislature.

As part of the largest gathering of dental hygiene professionals in the U.S., the American Dental Hygienists’ Association (ADHA) will launch a charitable fun run/walk entitled In Motion: 5K Run-Walk-Fun on Thursday, June 9 at 8:00 p.m. in downtown Pittsburgh. Set to take place during the 2016 Center for Lifelong Learning (CLL) at the 93rd Annual Session (AS), the race is designed to raise funds for ADHA’s foundation, the Institute for Oral Health (IOH), which is committed to empowering, supporting, and developing education and research opportunities for dental hygiene professionals. “The Institute for Oral Health is thrilled to host its inaugural 5K to further our mission of service, research and scholarship,” said Kelli Swanson Jaecks, MA, RDH, Chair of the ADHA Institute of Oral Health.

“This event will be the highlight of the annual session, and whether you run, walk or shuffle, I invite everybody to participate in what will be the first of many memorable 5Ks to come.” Proceeds from the fun run/walk will help fund scholarships for dental hygiene students, provide research opportunities for those expanding the field of dental hygiene, and support dental hygienists who donate their services to improve access to oral health care and education in their communities. Runners and walkers of all skill levels are invited to participate in the event as individuals or in teams. All participants will be treated to an “After Glow Party” immediately following the race.

In addition, ADHA is hosting an In Motion: 5K Run-Walk-Fun Song Contest on social media from Feb. 22 through March 7. The song with the most votes by the end of the contest will be crowned the anthem of this year’s race. “The In Motion: 5K Run-Walk-Fun is an exciting way to engage students, exhibitors, friends, alumni, states, corporate sponsors and districts, all running or walking together for a great cause,” said ADHA CEO Ann Battrell. “With more funds, IOH can increase its presence nationwide and continue to do great work in the field of oral health.”

For 5K registration information, please visit https://www.crowdrise.com/ADHARunWalk2016. To join in the race excitement and stay updated, please follow the ADHA on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter, using the hashtag #IOH5K.

President’s Welcome

Thank you for visiting the website for the Nebraska Dental Hygienists Association (NDHA), a constituent of the American Dental Hygienists Association (ADHA). I am Karen Fiala, this year’s NDHA President.

Our website is full of current and vital information important to Nebraska Hygienists, but you will also find many other important resources and links to the most up-to-date national news as well. Feel free to click around and get to know our site. If you are a member of ADHA/NDHA be sure to create an account to get access to areas of the site that are privileged for members.

Your membership is vital to NDHA. With you support, we are able to offer top grade Continued Education Programs, a chance to Help by volunteering and great opportunities to Meet and Network with colleagues and other professionals.

We at NDHA want you to succeed and to love the work you do. Please be sure to contact us if you have any questions regarding membership or ways you can contribute to your profession and association.

Lets raise our rinse cups to a prosperous year for Dental Hygiene in Nebraska!
Working Together, moving Upward and Soaring into the future.

With Love,
Karen Fiala RDH