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Meghan Greening, RDH, BSDH, EFDA

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Meghan Greening, RDH, BSDH, EFDA, attended The Ohio State University College of Dentistry. While in school, she discovered her passion for periodontics and oral pathology. She currently works in private practice where she performs clinical dental hygiene as well as writes educational articles for the office’s newsletter. In her free time, she enjoys reading, writing, exercising, and spending time with her husband and family.

Peri-implant Diseases: The Hygienist’s Role in Preserving Implant Health

The concept of dental implants is not new. Evidence of dental implants has been dated all the way back to 600 AD and the Mayan population. While materials, techniques, and technologies have been improved upon, implants placed today and their predecessors both rely on the same process of osseointegration.1 Osseointegration is defined as "direct structural and functional connection between...

Oral Lichenoid Lesions: How Dental Professionals Navigate Tricky Diagnostic Steps

Oral lichenoid lesions (OLL) refer to a group of lesions that appear as white ─ or a combination of red and white ─ and can be found on multiple surfaces in the oral cavity. They often look similar (and even identical) to oral lichen planus (OLP). One article stated, “Typically, the clinical presentation in both conditions can be reticular...

Panoramic and 3-Dimensional Images: Can they Detect Potential Carotid Artery Disease?

Panoramic (PAN) and three-dimensional radiographs such as cone beam computed tomography (CBCT) provides invaluable information for clinicians for various reasons. These types of imaging can be utilized daily in many types of dental practices, including general dentistry, endodontics, periodontics, oral surgery, dental imaging centers, and orthodontics. These images provide not only an enormous amount of dental information but also a...

Gingival Recession: When Surgical Options Should be Considered Instead of Patient Education

Gingival recession is something most of us see in our patients’ on a daily basis. It is defined as the apical migration of gingiva,1 which can cause various problems for our patients that include sensitivity, periodontal complications, esthetic concerns, and decay. Gingival recession results from many different factors such as patient habits (brushing too hard/using the wrong technique, picking...

Bell’s Palsy: Sudden Onset can Influence Home Care, Dental Hygiene Appointment

Bell's Palsy
Bell’s palsy is a temporary weakness or paralysis that affects the seventh cranial nerve, commonly known as the facial nerve.2 Also known as “acute peripheral facial palsy of unknown cause,”1 this condition is frequently referred to as idiopathic because it often arrives without any known cause.1,2 Dental patients who have experienced Bell’s palsy may have difficulty adapting to “normal” oral...

Oral Malignant Melanoma: A Rare Neoplasm Dental Hygienists Should Monitor

The vast majority of dental hygienists are familiar with melanoma and how devastating it can be to the skin and various other organs, but how familiar are we with how it can affect the oral cavity? Oral malignant melanoma represents a low percentage of all melanomas (thought to account for less than 1%). However, this variant tends to be more...

Musculoskeletal Disorders: Lateral (Tennis Elbow) versus Medial (Golfer’s Elbow) Epicondylitis

Both lateral and medial epicondylitis are afflictions that fall under the umbrella of musculoskeletal disorders (MSD). An MSD can be defined as "injuries affecting movement of the musculoskeletal system, which includes muscles, tendons, ligaments, nerves, discs, and blood vessels."1 Lateral Epicondylitis Lateral epicondylitis (LE) is caused by overuse and damage to both the extensor carpi radialis brevis (ECRB) muscle and tendon,...

Oral Disorders: Identifying the ‘Potentially Malignant’ Lesions in Dental Patients

Dental hygienists are well-versed with oral cancer and the importance of early detection, but what about those lesions that are in limbo ─ the ones that are precancerous or have the potential to become precancerous? What are premalignant oral disorders or potentially malignant oral disorders? In 2017, the World Health Organization (WHO) defined oral premalignant disorders as "clinical presentations that...

Connective Tissue Disorders: Tailoring Dental Appointments for CTD Patients

A connective tissue disease or disorder is one that affects the elastin and collagen proteins within connective tissues. Connective tissues are responsible for joining different body parts and structures together. Dental hygienists often have to think outside of the box and change their "normal" appointments to care for patients who suffer from a connective tissue disease. To date, more than 200...

Periodontal Disease: Explaining 2017 AAP Guidelines and Treatment Options

The American Academy of Periodontology defines periodontitis (periodontal disease) as “Inflammation of the periodontal tissues resulting in clinical attachment loss, alveolar bone loss, and periodontal pocketing.”1 The disease is the leading cause of tooth loss in the United States. It is estimated that 47% of people older than age 30 have some form of periodontal disease, and this is even...

Addison’s Disease: How Hygienists Can Help Spot Oral Signs

Addison’s disease is a disorder that was first discovered by Thomas Addison in 1885. It is defined as an endocrine disease that targets the adrenal glands that are found on top of the kidneys. This disease causes a decrease in the production of the aldosterone and cortisol hormones.1 Cortisol is known as the “stress hormone” and is responsible for increasing...

Organ Transplants: Dental Hygiene Care Should Reflect Extreme Caution

According to the United Network for Organ Sharing (UNOS), 39,719 organ transplants were completed in the United States during 2019, including donations from both living and deceased donors. Even with this large amount, 113,000 people are currently awaiting transplants.1 The American Transplant Foundation states that one person is added to a transplant waiting list every 10 minutes. They also state...

Xerostomia and Periodontal Disease: How to Customize Your Treatment Approaches

Xerostomia can be described as a “subjective sensation of oral dryness”1 with numerous causes. The most common are as a side effect from certain medications, Sjogren’s syndrome and other autoimmune disorders, and radiation therapy.1 Older patients are generally taking more medications, and so we tend to see xerostomia in this population more frequently than any other. However, anyone taking medications...

Preeclampsia and Periodontal Disease: What Hygienists Need to Know

“Preeclampsia is a disorder that occurs only during pregnancy and the postpartum period and affects both the mother and the unborn baby,” the Preeclampsia Foundation states, “Preeclampsia affects at least 5-8% of all pregnancies and is a rapidly progressive condition characterized by high blood pressure and usually the presence of protein in the urine.” The condition usually occurs after 20...

3D Imaging: Benefits for Dental Hygienists in Perio, Endo, and Ortho

The potential for three-dimensional imaging in dentistry is widespread. Hygienists use two-dimensional images on a daily basis, but they do not provide the amount of detail that the three-dimensional counterpart does. According to one source, “In two-dimensional imaging, evaluation of bone craters, lamina dura, and periodontal bone level is limited by projection geometry and superpositions of adjacent anatomical structures.” Two-dimensional...

How to Recognize the Most Common Complications of Dental Implants

According to the American Academy of Implant Dentistry, 500,000 dental implants are placed in the United States annually.1 As dental hygienists, the number of patients we treat who have at least one dental implant will increase. For this reason, it is important for dental hygienists to become familiar with dental implants from both restorative and preventive aspects. We need to...

Oral Cancer: Why the Biopsy is Still the Most Important Treatment to Recommend

According to the Oral Cancer Foundation, one person in the United States dies every hour each day from oral cancer. Dental hygienists are often the first clinician to find these cancers in our patients’ mouths. The identification of suspicious lesions in the oral cavity can be tricky. However, the more familiar we become with the lesions, we will hopefully...