For years, my relationship with chlorhexidine has been strained. The warning signs were there the entire time, so I should have known. You claimed to be able to assist me, yet all you managed to do was make things worse. I detest chlorhexidine. I have always detested the way you discolor the teeth I cherish so much and I found it infuriating that you would add calculus after I had spent so much time getting rid of it all. When I learned that you inhibit fibroblasts and have really killed patients, I was no longer willing to accept that everything had been done because you killed bacteria more effectively than the competition. There are numerous reasons why this relationship must end; dysfunction like this cannot be normal.
1- You only wanted a short term fling.
I was so eager to introduce you to my patients when we first met. I was eager for them to test you out since I believed you could truly make a difference. I allowed you to assist me with those who needed it the most because I had been taught that you could be utilized for bleeding. Some of them had painful dental surgery, some had failing implants, and yet others had periodontal disease. I didn't realize you were really only meant to be used for gingivitis until much later. I believed you to be the best, and I kept trying to make it work, but you lied to me. However, because you need to be at such a high concentration (1200 ppm) to work, you are actually too harmful to use for more than two weeks. I want something that will last longer.
2- Do you even have a job?
I started hearing a lot of bad things about you soon after we started dating. I eventually discovered that you really don't have the skills that I require to make this work. You fully tricked me into thinking you were excellent at all of these things, and I was stupid enough to fall for it. Now I'm hearing from other hygienists that you can't work in blood and saliva. Did you really think that the longer we were together, the less I would notice how ineffective you were? I can't believe you've been deceiving us all for so long. How could we ever make this work in the mouth if blood and saliva restrict you?
3- You’re literally toxic.
Truly, utilizing you makes me feel awful, and I'm no longer able to ignore the fact that you treat my patients so poorly. After receiving dental care, they require a great deal of assistance to mend properly, and you are cytotoxic to the cells that support tissue regrowth. You cannot assist me in achieving my objectives for patient care while impairing the cells necessary for effective healing. I understand that I am contributing to this issue, so I have to quit. I will continue to make my job more difficult and inconvenience my cherished patients if I continue to offer you a choice.
4- You’re abusive.
You did a wonderful job of keeping this small detail a secret, but after some discussion among the hygienists, your secret is now known. We are aware of her. The woman who passed away after utilizing you had just had her teeth pulled. I've also seen the FDA report on all the other serious allergic responses you've brought on. I'll never understand why you aren't completely prohibited from use, but I can't support you when you cause harm to others. I'm finally moving on. I've spent a lot of time improving myself and have accrued enough credits for continuing education to be aware that there are other, preferable possibilities. Activated chlorine dioxide is already my new passion. It not only kills bacteria more quickly, but it also eliminates viruses and fungi. It also decreases volatile sulfur compounds and helps me regulate biofilm without displaying any hazardous characteristics, and my patients adore it.
I really hope no hygienist ever uses you again. Goodbye.
Kristin Goodfellow RDH
Kristin is Chief Clinical Officer of OraCare, a practicing Registered Dental Hygienist