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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.

Taste Disorders: What Dental Hygienists Need to Know to Help Patients

Loss of taste is often regarded as less important when compared to vision and hearing loss. It is poorly studied because taste loss is not considered serious or life-threatening. The sense of taste, however, is essential to the overall health of dental patients.4 Also known as dysgeusia, taste disorders can be frustrating for patients and may negatively affect psychological well-being,...

Understanding the Monetary Value of the “Essential” Dental Hygienist

Dental professionals could have never imagined a time when dental offices across the country would close with only emergency services deemed essential. The shutdowns imposed on dental offices were meant to shift personal protective equipment to where it was needed most. This created conversations in the dental community on social media filled with worry, confusion, and anger. Most shocking were...

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...