Thomas Edison, Benjamin Franklin, Nikola Tesla, and…you.
What do all these people have in common? They’re all inventors. The only difference is that you haven’t fully developed your invention yet.
Don’t worry, though. We’re here to rectify that situation.
After all, being a dental hygienist requires the creativity associated with inventiveness. You’re constantly finding ways to perform your duties better.
Don’t believe us? Let’s allow history to speak for itself–there are a plethora of inventive dental hygienists out there who’ve changed the industry with their innovations.
- For instance, there’s Becky Logue, who invented the Dental RAT, a foot-operated computer mouse.
- Then, who can forget Patricia Blundon? She designed the Clip Mirror, a handy invention that attaches to your saliva ejector, making it easier to see while applying maxillary arch sealants.
- And there’s Mark Frias, the hygienist who invented the Kona Adaptor, which attaches the autoclavable mouthpieces to HVE valves.
These dental hygienist inventors we’ve listed are only scratching the surface of professionals in your space who’ve created game-changing devices.
Below, we’ll discuss how you can follow in their footsteps!
1. Patent Your Idea as a Dental Hygienist
There’s a caveat with great ideas – other industrious, inventive thinkers like you may have already thought of them.
You don’t want to spend weeks or months dreaming up a big idea and putting in the research only to find out someone has already filed a patent for it. So, after your first seemingly successful brainstorming session, visit Google Patents to see if your idea already exists.
Be mindful that the existing patent might not be a replica of your potential invention, but it could be similar enough to cause problems.
Still, even if you realize your idea is patented, it’s not the end of the world. There’s a chance that the patent expired, or you could obtain rights to it through purchasing.
The ideal scenario, though, is that you find nothing.
In which case, there aren’t any obstacles in your way of patenting your idea to protect it. You can spend money on a patenting attorney. However, the more affordable choice is to acquire a provisional patent over LegalZoom.
2. Illustrate Your Model Or Idea
Inventions don’t come to life out of thin air–not even prototypes. You must have it on paper (or on a screen) first. Then, you can bring it into existence.
A 3D CAD (computer-aided design) drawing is the best method for drawing your innovation. In a perfect world, you’ll have CAD skills you can use, but we won’t make any assumptions. Provided you’re not familiar with computer-aided design, hire someone to do it.
How can you find this 3D CAD artist? Like you do everything these days, by going to the old Google machine. Type “CAD services” into the search field, and the results will be plentiful.
It is possible to keep things simpler and sketch a 2D drawing on graph paper. Note that you’re limiting yourself with this approach, although you can get away with it.
3. Prototype Your Innovation
Your next step is producing a prototype. Don’t panic at this idea, because your invention doesn’t need to be functional or operational in its prototypical form. A crude iteration of your final product will suffice.
More important than the prototype’s functionality is its insights into any dimensional issues.
Similar to your 3D CAD drawings, you can easily find a company to make your prototype on Google if you can’t do it yourself.
A simple search query for “rapid prototyping” will generate tons of results for companies that prototype (and they’ll probably offer CAD drawings, too).
4. Discuss Your Idea With Other Hygienists And Get Feedback
There are many hygienists out there who’ve been through this invention process from top to bottom. If you have an exciting idea to improve a dental hygienist’s efficiency and bolster patient care, reach out to these inventors.
Your colleagues can also offer some insights. Ask them if your idea sounds like it’d help them perform their work better and see if they can provide some notes.
A fresh perspective will shed light on any blind spots and help you shore up potential weaknesses.
Reach For The Stars And Make Your Big Idea Come To Life!
It might seem like you need a whacky haircut and a twirly, thick mustache to be an inventor, but that’s plainly not the case.
The fact is, you have the tools to become an inventor in the dental hygienist space. These traits include a vast knowledge base, creativity, industry experience, and an analytical mind.
All you need is an idea that helps you do your job better. From there, follow the steps we’ve provided in this article, and you’ll be well on your way to etching your name in the dental hygienist history books!