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Heather Hakes, RDH

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.

The History of Dental Hygiene: Development through the Years

As I get older, I notice myself commonly making references to the past by using the phrase, “Back in the day…” Music and television award shows also pay homage to their past and the changes that have taken place over the years. Then, too, education teaches lessons on past world history as it does on current world affairs. History...

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...

Dental Implants: Smoking Effects on Dental Implants

Dental implant placement has gained popularity over the years as an effective, long-term tooth replacement option. Under the right conditions, dental implants have a success rate of 98%.1 However, dental implants have some drawbacks, such as implant failure due to smoking. Thus, a thorough patient screening is important prior to dental implant treatment planning. A dental implant is a screw-like...

Dental News: A Look Back at Some Big Stories from 2019

Every year, the dental industry makes strides to improve knowledge and stay on the cutting edge. Enhancing patients’ experiences through new technologies, improved business operations, and an optimal standard of care in dentistry are a few examples of how the dental industry moves forward year after year. For example, in 2019, the dental industry advocated for patient safety in attempting...

10 Dental Christmas Gift Ideas

Christmas is a joyous holiday enjoyed by all ages. The annual celebration brings together families for cookie baking, gift exchanging, trimming the tree, and caroling. Gift exchanging has become commemorative of the Christmas tradition. Waking in the morning to find gifts under the tree or stockings stuffed with gifts brings joy to those receiving and those observing. Christmas traditions are...

Halloween Candy and Dental Decay: Taking the Trick out of the Treat

On October 31st, dental professionals cringe every time the candy lands in the bucket after our kids shout out the expected “Trick-or-Treat!” Once our little ghouls come home with a full bucket of “treats,” the “trick” is keeping their mouths cavity-free. Dental caries among children from ages six through eleven affects up to 21 percent of the U.S. population.1 The...

10 (More) Pet Peeves of Dental Hygienists

Although the dental hygiene profession can be rewarding at times, those little nuances called “pet peeves” can overshadow the day. After a positive response to my first article, 10 Pet Peeves of Dental Hygienists (Plus 5 Patient Pet Peeves), I am following up with 10 additional pet peeves. The following is a list of pet peeves not yet explored on...

Athletes and Dental Caries: The Power of Acid on Tooth Decay

A new school year always represents the start of students participating in school sports. The athletic activities typically precipitate an increase in the consumption of sports beverages and protein bars for increasing carbohydrate intake for energy and to replenish electrolytes. The role of the dental hygienist is to educate the parent and the child on the importance of good nutritional...

Periodontal Diagnosis: How to Maintain Positive Control of the Appointment

As dental hygienists we’ve all been there, treating a new patient with a periodontal diagnosis.  How do we turn an appointment around after we diagnose a new patient who has been seen by the same dentist regularly for years yet has never heard of periodontal disease?  It’s an everyday struggle for a dental hygienist to gain control of the...

Dental Hygiene: A Community Coming Together with Shared Experiences

The dental hygiene profession can be self-satisfying, rewarding, educating, and humbling, as well as trifling, mentally and physically exhausting, and perplexing.  Judging from recent dental hygiene blogs, it seems that the majority of practicing dental hygienists have encountered similar reactions, both positive and negative, in their work environments. Dental hygienists juggle the emotional rollercoaster of patients, fellow employees, doctors, professional...