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Rebecca Marie Friend, BS, RDH

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Rebecca Marie Friend, RDH, BS, attained her Associate of Applied Science degree in Dental Hygiene from Ferris State University, Big Rapids, Michigan in 1987, where she also met and married her husband. She has been a practicing dental hygienist for over 30 years and has raised three sons while working as a full-time clinical dental hygienist. Rebecca currently practices in Battle Creek, Michigan, for Dr. Earl E. Gaball, DDS, a general and sedation dentist. She resides in neighboring historic Marshall, Michigan. Rebecca is board certified in Nitrous Oxide and Local Anesthesia Administration and is certified in low-level laser therapy. Continuously striving to improve upon her skills and methods of forward-thinking in the dental world, she recently attained her Bachelor of Science degree in Oral Health Promotion through Action Research at O’Hehir University. She is actively involved in a mentorship with students at O’Hehir University. “I take pride in my abilities as a skilled periodontal therapist. I enjoy the patient-practitioner relationship that develops when trust and health are gained, taking mindful care of every individual that I connect with. The benefits of helping others achieve a healthy mouth and regain their confidence with a great smile and healthier self are very rewarding. Whole body health begins with the mouth.” In her free time, Rebecca enjoys visiting the beautiful shores of Lake Michigan where the sunsets are magical, the dunes are stunning, and the rocks are a collector’s delight. She loves to immerse herself in nature whenever she gets a chance and enjoys canoeing, kayaking, nature-walks, flexibility training, yoga, and little “get-a-ways” with her husband. Family life has always been important to her, and now that her three grown sons have spread their wings, she has a little more time to spread hers.

Situational Awareness: Keeping the Operatories Busy and Everyone Happy

Most dental professionals, whether they are at the front desk, assistants, or dental hygienists, are intuitively aware that: “When the doctor is happy, everybody is happy.” What makes the doctor the happiest? When his/her (and the hygienists’) chairs are not sitting idle. Do you have a plan of action to help keep those chairs filled? Situational awareness helps. Situational Awareness Situational awareness...

Why Home Care Should Be Flexible about Recommended Oral Hygiene Regimens

How many times have your impeccable scaling skills and topnotch, by-the-book oral hygiene recommendations and demonstrations resulted in an exhausting six-month recare appointment? The fact that plaque and calculus reinfest some mouths in six to eleven weeks (and sometimes less) sets us up for failure if we over-focus on scaling and under-focus on the cause of the biofilm reinfestation. Scaling...

Tardive Dyskinesia: Dental Hygienists Can Monitor for Effects of Antipsychotic Medications

Tardive dyskinesia (TD) is a serious side effect from the long-term use of certain antipsychotic drugs used to treat mental illness. TD may present itself with uncontrolled, continuous jerking movements of the face, tongue, and jaw, as well as other body parts.1 These movements are uncontrolled by the patient and may appear as though they are gnashing their teeth...

Do Your Best: How Dental Hygienists Can Reclaim Their Purpose

The average dental hygienist has an allotted one-hour time slot for her or his patients. This time allotment often does not change whether the patient is in the operatory chair for a six-month prophy, periodontal maintenance, or periodontal therapy. Some dental hygienists actually have 40 to 45 minutes of allotted time per patient, making their workday impractical, inconvenient, and...

Dentures: How Hygienists Can Educate the Insistent Patient about Edentulism

Dentures. Sometimes we stumble across the patient who is insistent about full mouth extractions and upper and lower dentures. Dental professionals realize the importance of first doing the obvious, gathering all of the facts and data about the patient, which includes complete dental records and (most critical) good listening skills. Why are these patients adamant about dentures? The reasons patients...

Laser-assisted Hygiene Therapy: Integrating Laser Therapy for Dental Patients

March 2020 has forever changed our world as well as the way we treat patients in the dental setting. Adhering to strict Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) guidelines to ensure the safety and health of our patients, ourselves, and co-workers have been the standard of care since AIDS surfaced in the 1980s. The onset of COVID-19 has required...

6 Things You Need to Know About Dental Sealants

Today’s society, especially in the U.S., is inundated with sugary liquids posing as healthy or energizing drinks. Many parents pack their children’s lunch boxes with fermentable carbohydrates such as chips and crackers, and sugary liquids such as juice boxes because they are easily accessible, and are non-perishable. Chewable vitamins and chewable sugary snacks that stick in occlusal surfaces are...

Eagle Syndrome: How RDHs Can Distinguish it from TMD

Eagle syndrome is a rare condition where the styloid process becomes elongated or the stylohyoid ligaments become calcified. When the process elongates, it can constrict nerves, the carotid artery, and create a variety of symptoms that are often misdiagnosed. (see Image 1 and 2) The condition was discovered by Dr. Watt W. Eagle in 1937, an otolaryngologist at Duke University....

Tonsil Stones: Unraveling the Mysteries Found in Dental Patients’ Crypts

Crypt. It sounds like something one would visualize in a horror story. For some, tonsil crypts can be a kind of horror story as they become infested with tonsil stones, causing unwanted malodor even after thorough brushing, tongue scraping, interdental cleaning, and rinsing. This can become a frustrating concern for many people. Dental hygienists can provide a variety of recommendations...

Ankyloglossia: Please Release Me!

Ankyloglossia, also known as tongue-tie, is a congenital anomaly that may severely restrict the tongue’s range of motion. It is caused by an abnormally thick, short lingual frenulum which tethers the bottom of the tongue’s tip to the floor of the mouth. Severe tongue-ties are usually discovered at birth as it interferes with normal breast-feeding.1 If not discovered at birth...