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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.

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...

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...

Not So Hard to See: Nanoparticles Surface in Dental Hygiene Products

Sixty years ago, Nobel prize-winning physicist Richard P. Feynman made a speech to the American Physical Society concerning manufacturing at the dimension of atoms and molecules.  He spoke about the many inventive possibilities that may follow and encouraged the creation of methods for measurement and manufacturing at nanoscale levels. That speech was the beginning of nanoscience and nanotechnology. Since then,...

Identifying Human Trafficking in the Dental Setting

Human trafficking is a modern form of slavery, second only to drugs as the world’s largest criminal activity. The United Nations defines trafficking in human beings as the recruitment, transportation, transfer, harboring, or receipt of persons by means of the threat or use of force or other forms of coercion, abduction, fraud, detection, abuse of power or position of...

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...

Is Community Water Fluoridation Necessary?

There are few other terms in dentistry that can provoke a debate the way the word “fluoride” does. Despite the CDC deeming community water fluoridation as one of the ten greatest public health achievements of the 20th century, petitions to remove fluoride from drinking water sources and pushback on implementing community water fluoridation (CWF) is not uncommon. This is...

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...