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Heather Hakes, RDH

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Heather Hakes, RDH, was born in Upstate New York where she started her Dental Hygiene career in 2000. Heather practiced in Upstate New York for three years at a general dentist practice where she gained experience with high and low functioning special needs patients. Heather then went on to pediatrics before moving to Virginia in 2007. She currently practices in Virginia in a general dental practice, where she has worked for the last ten years. Heather also works one day per week in an office with periodontal focus. Heather resides in rural Virginia with her husband, Robert, her son Ryan, and two dogs, Rex and Jake. Heather enjoys home improvement projects, reading, writing, and spending time with family and friends.

5 Key Principles of Dental Ethics & How to Apply Them

Dental ethics is “a system of principles governing the dental practice, a moral obligation to render the best quality of dental services to the patient and to maintain an honest relationship with other professionals and society.”1 Dental ethics plays an integral role in the daily practice of dental hygiene and infiltrate the “how” to proceed, the “why” to proceed,...

Upper Airway Resistance Syndrome: The Importance of a Dental Diagnosis

As dental clinicians, the medical history and clinical examination of our patients play important roles in differentiating vital signs which may be affecting the patient’s medical and dental health. Recently, the dental community has become more aware of the potential risks to medical health through disrupted sleep patterns caused by anatomical facial variances. Dental clinicians can initiate the diagnosis...

Heart Health: Importance of Pre-Operative Blood Pressure Screenings in the Dental Office

Have you been asked countless times by patients why dental clinicians need to take blood pressure prior to the appointment? Are you working in an office that has yet to establish a patient triage prior to appointments? Understanding the important role that the dental clinician plays in risk assessment protocol can mean life or death to patients. Blood pressure is...

Sleep Apnea: A Growing Health Concern Hygienists Need to Know About

Sleep apnea has become a growing health concern because of its link to other potentially fatal health conditions. Sleep apnea occurs when there are pauses in the breathing of people sleeping, and may result in the sufferer waking and gasping for air. As dental clinicians, we have the ability to evaluate our patients for potential sleep disorders, based on...

Laser Dentistry: Cutting Edge Dentistry

Laser dentistry is a non-evasive approach to dentistry. “Laser” is derived from the acronym “Light Amplification by the Stimulated Emission of Radiation.1” Lasers have been used in dentistry for over twenty years for the treatment of both hard and soft tissue. In 1994, lasers were first introduced in dentistry for soft tissue treatment, after receiving approval from the Food and...

Vitamin Deficiencies: Noting the Oral Health Clues Present in the Mouth

The recent emphasis on the importance of a healthy diet and good nutrition has not been ignored by the dental profession. Vitamins and nutrients can have significant effects on the oral cavity. The patient’s medical history, clinical evaluation, and radiographs can reveal the negative effects of vitamin deficiencies and resulting oral manifestations. The most common vitamins that are introduced and...

Analogies: How Hygienists Can Increase Patients’ Understanding of Dental Treatment

Communication between the patient and the clinician is a key component in a successful dental appointment.  In order to have successful communication, understanding is essential to bridge the gap of knowledge between clinician and patient.  The use of visual aids and reading materials can be useful in providing the patient with the information needed for better understanding. Another form...

Oral Malodor: Causes, Effects, and Treatment of the Dental Patient

The nationwide trend toward wearing masks has precipitated a new concern for dental patients − oral malodor, aka bad breath. Oral malodor is an “unpleasant odor” created by gram-negative anaerobic bacteria that produce volatile sulfur compounds (VSC).”1,2 Malodor roughly affects over 50% of the population, and the causes vary from pathologic to nonpathologic in nature. The dental hygienist plays a...

Halloween Candy: The Dental Implications of Different Kinds

It is that time of year when children dress up and go door-to-door to collect bags full of candy. It is also that time of year where diet and nutrition are discarded, and parents face the unthinkable: their children will be consuming large quantities of Halloween candy. Sweets play one of the key roles in dental caries. However, the...

5 Dental Urban Legends: The Tooth be Told

Urban legends are types of modern folklore or fictional stories presented as true and used for entertainment or to serve as cautionary tales. Urban legends were first published in 1968 and are typically complete stories with plots and characters that are “rooted in popular culture” and display elements of “fear, humor, mystery or horror”.1 The urban legends of dentistry...