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Lara James, RDH

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Lara James, RDH, is a licensed dental hygienist of clinical hygiene, including corporate, dental management, and private practices. She graduated in 2004 from Portland Community College in Portland, Oregon. Lara has created DentalAisle.com, a dental blog, to educate consumers on dental products and dental issues. Lara also has written an online continuing education course on dentalcare.com. For more information, email her at lara@dentalaisle.com.

A Deep Dive into Core Muscles: The Foundation of Hygienist Ergonomics

The core, a group of midsection body muscles, is essential to strengthen and maintain for overall health. The back is one of the most compromised groups of muscles and ligaments in the dental profession ‒ even with good ergonomics. A static, unnatural position can initiate or accelerate an injury, whether short-term or long-term. Depending on the patient or self-induced...

Dental Fear, Anxiety, and Phobia: Discerning the Difference and Treatment Tips

Fear, anxiety, or phobia, tend to be used interchangeably when describing emotions about the dental office, and I’ll refer to these terms as a whole as being apprehensive. Fewer dental patients are enthused about visiting the dentist versus those who don’t. Dental apprehension can affect oral health by delaying or avoiding care, causing extensive or complex treatments, including oral...

Oral Health: The Difference between Genetics, Hereditary, and Lifestyle

How often do we hear, “Just take my teeth out and give me dentures because my parents had them,” from dental patients? Or, “I’m prone to cavities because I was born with soft teeth” as they drink soda and brush once a day? “Prone” is thrown haphazardly around since everyone is prone to something. Prone is having the natural inclination...

TMJ Disc Displacement: Hygienist Finally Seeks Care after Year of Self-treatment

I suddenly became my own dental patient one day after years of clicking and popping in my right side temporomandibular joint ‒ nothing painful or even uncomfortable. I just knew that I would feel and hear my jaw when I ate. For many years, my “normal” jaw included painless popping and clicking, more so when opening. It didn’t keep me...

Dental Prevention vs. Treatment: Breaking It Down

An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure, and preventing disease is preferable to curing a disease. Prevention is the action of stopping something from happening or arising. Treatment is care given for an illness or injury. Even when illness is treated, one may not fully recover. Prevention saves money, time, pain, and inconveniences. Treatment costs money,...

Unique Features of the Mouth that Help Forensic Investigators

The mouth is one of the most unique features of the body ‒ most valuable in the basic survival of speaking and eating. The mouth is also very valuable in providing identification. Fingerprints have distinct attributes, and so do the lip, tongue, teeth, and rugae. These prints can identify people in uncertain situations such as crimes, mass disasters, missing...

Eagle Syndrome: Dental Professionals can Identify Painful Condition on Panoramic Radiograph

Eagle syndrome (stylohyoid syndrome) is within the category of many other conditions since there are no definite known causes. Pain is experienced in the head and neck region, and the symptoms can mimic other conditions that cause head and neck pains. Tonsillectomies are considered a likely factor as a result of possible scarring and injury from the procedure. Other factors...

Dental Customer Service: The Benefits of a Pleasant Experience for Patients

If customer service seems worse these days, it’s quite delightful when good experiences do occur. I’ve had my share of awful experiences lately, and, based on the complaints of others, declining customer service trends seem like the new normal. When I do receive good customer service, I thank the person for being helpful, kind, knowledgeable, and efforts. An article a...

Dental Professionalism: An Overview of Professionalism in the Dental Office

Professionalism is the way a person represents themselves or the business they own or work for. Professionalism is defined as a professional character, spirit, or methods ‒ the standing or practice of a professional as distinguished from an amateur.1 A professional is also defined as relating to a job that requires special education, training, or skill; done or given by...

Metabolic Syndrome: Multiple Health Conditions Influence Path of Dental Care

Metabolic syndrome represents multiple conditions that have risk factors for cardiovascular disease. The term is not for a solo disease but rather a group of medically high-risk conditions. When combined, the conditions cause serious health issues. According to the International Diabetes Federation, metabolic syndrome is defined as “a cluster of the most dangerous heart attack risk factors: diabetes and...