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Lara James, RDH

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.

Frenums: Checking for Frenum Abnormalities During Oral Hygiene Exams

Frenums are normal anatomy within the mouth, yet often neglected. The frenum consists of loose, fibrous connective tissue, elastic fibers, and striated muscle fibers that develop from muscle bundles of the lip. The purpose is to provide stability to the tongue and upper and lower lip. This mucous membrane fold attaches the lip and cheek to the alveolar mucosa, gingiva,...

Tooth Staining: Awareness of Oral Health Effects of Tetracycline and Minocycline

Tetracycline and minocycline are common antibiotics used medically for infections and inflammation. While useful for medical reasons, dental professionals know it more for internal staining of the teeth. Tetracyclines lead to permanent tooth staining when ingested during pregnancy, nursing, or during the developmental period of secondary and primary teeth. This vulnerable time frame is from the fourth month in utero...

Cerebrocostomandibular Syndrome: Oral Health Signs of Rare Disorder

Cerebrocostomandibular syndrome (CCMS) is an extremely rare disorder with a low survival rate. This condition is so rare that only around 80 confirmed cases have been reported in medical literature. The disorder involves a severely small chin, glossoptosis, an absent uvula, a cleft palate, narrow chest, missing ribs, gaps between the ribs, and difficulty breathing and feeding.1 Other conditions are...

Oral Submucous Fibrosis: Early Intervention with Betel Quid Chewing is Helpful

Oral submucous fibrosis is a chronic, progressive, premalignant, and irreversible condition. It is often described as a chronic, insidious, and scarring disease for the oral cavity, often with the involvement of the pharynx and the upper esophagus.1 The collagen-related disorder is characterized by inflammation, increased deposition of submucosal collagen, and formation of fibrotic bands in the oral and paraoral tissues....

The Uvula: Conditions that Dental Hygienists can Observe during an Exam

The uvula should not be neglected when evaluating the oral cavity for any discrepancies. The uvula is a fleshy, soft tissue in the middle of the soft palate that hangs down in the back of the throat in front of the tonsils, resembling an oval or teardrop shape (see Figure 1). The uvula’s flexibility prevents food and liquids from...

Tonsils: Close Scrutiny Can Pinpoint Disease and Raise Oral Health Awareness

Tonsils are part of the immune system and contain an abundance of white blood cells to combat germs from entering the body. They are part of mucous-associated lymphoid tissue (MALT).1 Tonsils are made with lymphocytes and cells that prevent and fight infections.1 The tonsils have antigen-presenting cells on their surface that communicate with the B and T cells as...

Caviar Tongue: Are Dental Hygiene Patients Displaying Signs of “Aging?”

Caviar tongue is a condition recognized by purplish veins located on the ventral side of the tongue. Veins are normally visible underneath (ventrally) the tongue since the mucous membrane is so thin and translucent. However, with caviar tongue, the blood vessels become dilated and tortuous and appear round and black (resembling caviar).1 Caviar tongue is also referred to as sublingual...

Oral Allergy Syndrome: Educate Dental Patients about Reactions to Food

Oral allergy syndrome (OAS), which is also called pollen-fruit allergy syndrome, is a type of food allergy that causes instant allergic reactions in the mouth and throat. The syndrome is caused by cross-reacting allergens found in both pollen and the protein in raw fruits, vegetables, and tree nuts. This reaction occurs usually from eating raw or fully ripened fresh fruits...

Scarlet Fever: Why Should Dental Professionals Pay Attention to Medical History?

With the extensive list of conditions on a dental health history, it can be quite overwhelming to really know about all of them and how they affect the dental appointment. While scarlet and rheumatic fever is not too common anymore, there’s still a reason it’s listed on health histories. I have even seen it marked on the health history of...

Strawberry Tongue: Systemic Health Influences This Oral Health Condition

Strawberry tongue, which is also called raspberry tongue, is described as a red tongue that is bumpy, swollen, and, in some cases, enlarged. The condition reflects a systemic issue rather than an oral disorder. When strawberry tongue is present, it means there is an underlying issue involved. To determine the underlying cause, other symptoms will need to be considered.1A healthy...