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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.

A Dental Hygienist’s Refresher on Tuberculosis

One of the most important aspects of an appointment is reviewing health histories with patients.  Every dental hygienist has experienced that moment, where one checked box sends our minds searching for the right questions to determine if it is safe to proceed with treatment for both the patient and ourselves. Tuberculosis tends to be one of those recurring conversation topics...

Salivary Diagnostics Can Help Bridge Systemic Health for Dental Hygienists

In dentistry, saliva has traditionally been more of a nuisance than anything else. Dental hygienists know the constant struggle of trying to keep patients from choking during a prophy or attempting to keep a tooth dry when placing a sealant. Yet, what if saliva holds the key to integrating medicine and dentistry? Salivary diagnostics is an insightful tool that dental...

Reviewing the Relationship of Mental Health with Dental Hygiene Care

Dentistry can be associated with anxiety, phobias, and acute stress. Conversely, these psychological disorders can be associated with dental diseases such as erosion, caries, and periodontal disease.5 Stress, anxiety, and depression may negatively affect the catabolic and anabolic pathways the body uses to react and adjust to reestablish homeostasis. The body’s response to stress is to activate the sympathetic...

Oral Cancer: Update on Dangers of Smokeless Tobacco for Dental Hygienists

The Oral Cancer Foundation states the average age of a first-time smokeless tobacco user is just 10 years old. As seen with the recent trends in vaping, tobacco companies consistently use flavoring and fun packaging to entice younger customers to buy products that are ultimately addictive and damaging to their health. Smokeless tobacco users absorb two to three times the...

Peroxide Use in Dentistry: Is it Safe for Oral Health Care?

Every so often, a patient will admit to rinsing regularly with undiluted 3% hydrogen peroxide. If you’re anything like me, your mind immediately envisions a thick, black, carpet-like tongue coating in the near future. Thankfully, peroxides have been used safely in dentistry since first introduced in 1913 as a treatment for “pyorrhea.”4 When used in a controlled manner, peroxides...

Green Dentistry: How to Lower your Practice’s Environmental Footprint

Have you ever thought about the amount of waste a dental practice produces? It can be hard to ignore when a large part of our day is dedicated to cleaning and changing over rooms for the next patient. For the sake of time efficiency and maximizing cleanliness, disposable barriers, single-use products, and chemical-laden cleaning agents have become essential. However,...

Considerate Care for Hearing-Impaired Dental Patients

Disabling hearing loss, defined by the World Health Organization, is hearing loss greater than 40 decibels in the better ear of adults or greater than 30 decibels in children. Four hundred sixty-six million people worldwide are affected by some degree of hearing loss. Due to increases in hazardous noise exposure such as continuous city traffic noise, personal music players,...

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...

7 Self-Care Options for Dental Hygienists to Extend their Career

Dental hygiene is consistently among the top professions at risk for musculoskeletal disorders (MSD) that affect the soft and hard tissues of the body. A one-year prevalence rate of MSD in dental hygienists ranged from 60% to 96% who are experiencing some form of neck, shoulder, wrist, hand, or back pain. These injuries occur from the precise, repetitive movements...

Oral Health Effects of the Ketogenic Diet

The ketogenic diet has many devotees beyond the original intent of a controlled nutritional response to pediatric epilepsy. Dental hygienists have an in-depth understanding of the pivotal role nutrition can play in oral health and disease. Unexplained gingival inflammation can be rooted in what our patients consume daily and can be a small indication of a larger inflammatory issue...