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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.

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...

Ethical Dilemma: Trying to Encourage Patient to Seek a Second Opinion

Recently, I was in a situation where I thought I needed to be more of an advocate for the patient than agree with the dentist’s treatment plan. This situation tugged at my heart, and I didn’t know how to encourage a second opinion professionally. The 69-year-old patient left the office thinking she needed five crowns. They were diagnosed a year...

A Look at Pontic to Natural Tooth Bridges

A pontic to natural tooth bridge is when an anterior tooth is extracted and then used as the replacement tooth. The compromised tooth may be affected by trauma, periodontal disease, root canal failure, root resorption, or other root problems to where it needs to be extracted. If the crown of the extracted tooth is healthy, it can then be...

Be Prepared to Provide Dental Hygiene Care for Pregnant Patients

Pregnancy changes the whole body and the changes range from psychological-emotional swings to the more obvious physical changes. The mouth is not an exception to the many changes in the body. Several conditions may appear during pregnancy, including pregnancy gingivitis, to even the beginning signs of postpartum depression.1 Poor oral health during pregnancy may lead to poor health for the...

Autoimmune Diseases: Making Sense of Dental Patients’ Complaints

When a patient states that they have an autoimmune disease, I admit that generalizations about the diseases enter my mind, but not the specifics of each disease. While I know that immune function is decreased and good home care is especially needed, it may be just enough to know what to look for during the appointment. However, patients will voice...