The future of dental hygiene

Melissa Turner, BASDH, RDHEP, EFDA
Melissa K. Turner, BASDH, RDHEP.

Welcome to this column that we are dubbing "The Future of Dental Hygiene"! Since I’m new around here -- and since we’re introducing a brand new monthly column -- let’s begin with some introductions and uncover the why behind this series.

As chief hygiene officer and senior executive consultant for Cellerant Consulting, I’m thrilled to partner with each month to bring you a series that discusses the latest in what’s hot, what’s new, and what’s coming down the line for clinical dental hygiene! I’ll be your host and guide as we navigate through this year together. This column will also feature some special guest contributors who I’m privileged to work with me here at Cellerant.

Right now, it’s important to identify that we are experiencing a significant amount of change in our dental hygiene profession and the dental industry as a whole. In my 20-year career, I’ve never seen this amount of change occur -- which has included staffing shortages, workplace wellness issues, and the introduction of revolutionary clinical products -- it’s almost as if we’re entering a new era of dental hygiene! This era will usher in a preventive-based model of care, one in which disease takes the back burner as our patients learn to understand the intricacies and systemic impact of their oral health.  

We’re also experiencing a technology boom like never before. Dental practices of the future will learn to be more efficient, automate and digitize, and take dental services to patients via virtual care and mobile/portable dentistry. For dental hygienists everywhere, this is a win-win, as our clinical techniques and services will also become more efficient and less time-consuming, allowing us to spend more time building trust with our patients and educating them on what it takes to reach optimal oral health.

What is the best way for you to benefit from a nationwide shortage of dental hygienists? What are the top clinical tools you should be using every day? What home care and preventive products are coming down the line that you should be aware of now? Should you use artificial intelligence? Is it possible for you -- a hygienist -- to provide virtual care? What are the benefits of us hygienists providing mobile or portable services? 

Stay tuned as these are the questions we’ll be diving into in this series! Join us each month as we discuss what’s hot, what’s new, and what’s coming down!

Melissa K. Turner is the senior executive consultant and chief hygiene officer at Cellerant Consulting Group. She leads the Cellerant Best of Class Hygiene Awards. She is a founding board member of the American Mobile & Teledentistry Alliance and co-founder of the Denobi Awards and the National Mobile & Teledentistry Conference. Turner’s newest launches include Smile Proud, an advocacy organization built to support current and future LGBTQIA dental professionals, as well as I, Woman, a podcast for women founders, executives, and entrepreneurs. Turner can be reached at

The comments and observations expressed herein do not necessarily reflect the opinions of, nor should they be construed as an endorsement or admonishment of any particular idea, vendor, or organization.

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