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Tanya L. Smith, RDH, BS

Tanya L. Smith, RDH, BS
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Tanya L. Smith, RDH, BS has been a clinical dental hygienist in private practice in Tucson, AZ, since graduating from Rio Salado College in 2011. She completed a Bachelor of Science in Dental Hygiene at Northern Arizona University, Summa Cum Laude, in 2014. A regular volunteer at St. Elizabeth’s Health Center Dental Clinic, she also enjoys writing, research, and travel in her spare time.

Oral Benefits of Tea Tree Oil

Dental hygiene is a profession of life-long learning with new studies and discoveries constantly providing a plethora of information and products to help patients navigate various oral conditions. The steady stream of research and treatment options can be helpful, but keeping up with the safety and efficacy of these products can be hard for dental hygienists and patients alike. ...

Oral Lichen Planus: Treatment & Management

Dental hygienists see a range of oral lesions on any given day in clinical practice that takes us back to the pages of our oral pathology books. The ability to identify and differentiate oral lesions is one of the most important skills we learn. Oral lichen planus (OLP) is a very common dermatologic disease which can affect the skin...

Expanding Sensitivity Options

Dentin hypersensitivity is consistently a top chief complaint dental hygienists hear from patients.  Levels of sensitivity and the underlying causes of this condition can vary widely making it important to create a personalized treatment plan for each patient. Dentin hypersensitivity is characterized by short, sharp pain from exposed dentin in response to thermal, evaporative, tactile, osmotic or chemical stimuli...

Mentorship in Dental Hygiene

I entered my first job in the dental field, a front desk position, with no prior dental experience. I was anxious, shy, and eager to learn. Almost daily my dentist would say, “You need to educate yourself!” It was irritating to hear at times, but I have since realized the value of that statement and the unassuming mentorship I...

A Dental Hygienist’s Role in Early Childhood Caries Prevention

Early childhood caries (ECC) is one of the most common chronic childhood diseases, and possibly the most preventable. The American Academy of Pediatric Dentistry (AAPD) defines ECC as a significant chronic disease resulting from an imbalance of multiple risk and protective factors over time1. In the United States, 3-6% of children under the age of 6 are affected by...

Is Malpractice Liability Insurance Necessary for Dental Hygienists?

Malpractice is defined as “a dereliction of professional duty or failure to exercise an ordinary degree of professional skill or learning by one rendering professional services which results in injury, loss, or damage.” Dental malpractice is a deviation from the standard of care, failure to diagnose and/or treat a patient resulting in injury to them3. Dental hygienists are licensed professionals...

A Dental Hygienists’ Refresher on Periodontal Probing

Dental hygienists learn early on that the periodontal probe is essentially our greatest tool in the assessment of periodontal health. Periodontal probing creates a record of health or disease over time that dental hygienists can reference to, evaluate healing, or determine the possible need to implement a more aggressive treatment plan. Including dental radiographs, a complete periodontal evaluation allows...

HIV Update for Dental Hygienists

Human Immunodeficiency Virus (HIV) became an epidemic in the United States in the early 1980s causing great concern for many healthcare workers. Today, after almost forty years of research, infection control guidelines and universal standard precautions are set in place due to the epidemic to ensure clinicians and patients are protected with proper PPE, no matter their health status....

Erythritol: The Other Sugar Alcohol

The sugar alcohol family, known as polyols, have become popular in chewing gums, lozenges, and dental hygiene products due to their unique ability to add sweetness and improve oral health. Introduced in 1970, xylitol has recently been at the forefront of the discussion with benefits backed by extensive research. It has been incorporated into many dental hygiene products across...

Keeping a Grateful Heart in Dental Hygiene

Dental hygiene is a highly rewarding profession that allows us to serve our communities. We help patients maintain an important part of their overall health, sometimes contributing to transformations that allow people to smile again. We grow with our patients and their families over time, and those we work with on a daily basis become like family. However, as...