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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.

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...

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...

Pandemic Mandates vs. Guidelines and Challenges for Dental Team Members

At the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic, many dental offices were mandated to discontinue all elective procedures. The mandatory shutdown caused some dental offices to shut their doors, offering no elective dental treatment and only emergency treatment. As the states rescinded their shutdown orders, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) had not updated guidelines regarding elective care...

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...

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...