Different Stages of Career: Mid-career RDH Reflects on Challenges

Over the past three years of clinical experience, I have been introduced to many different dental professionals, especially hygienists. Everyone possesses their own opinions, perspectives, and experiences about the profession. My goal here is to have hygienists reflect on their dental hygiene career based on their experience − a new graduate, a hygienist with a few years under her...

HPV Link to Oropharyngeal Cancer

Oral pathology has always been one of my favorite subjects to study for continuing education and while in school. Recently, while filling in for a new dentist, she remarked human papillomavirus (HPV) oral cancers were on the rise. So I began to study. I found HPV is a leading cause of oropharyngeal cancers and is thought to cause 70%...

Do You Want to Be a Dental Hygiene Educator?

After graduating from a dental hygiene program, new hygienists certainly are not thinking about stepping back into an educational institution. For most new graduates, a looming student debt needs to be tackled. As a result, practicing as a clinical dental hygienist is the most accepted and lucrative route when beginning a dental hygiene career. It is well known that you...

Flossing: An Inexpensive Way to Add Years to Your Life

Currently, more people are flossing than ever! However, don’t get excited… They are flossing their bodies not their teeth (you know you have tried it!) If I could get my son to be as diligent with his math as he is with his floss dance, he would become the next Albert Einstein. Flossing, such a simple concept yet practiced...

Oral Symptoms of Ankylosing Spondylitis

It is, of course, common knowledge to all of us in the dental profession that systemic diseases can be exacerbated or even caused by negligent dental hygiene and related oral health diseases. But, did you know that, as a dental professional, you may notice various side effects of certain diseases that the patient doesn't realize that they have? Ankylosing Spondylitis Dr....

Caviar Tongue: Are Dental Hygiene Patients Displaying Signs of “Aging?”

Caviar tongue is a condition recognized by purplish veins located on the ventral side of the tongue. Veins are normally visible underneath (ventrally) the tongue since the mucous membrane is so thin and translucent. However, with caviar tongue, the blood vessels become dilated and tortuous and appear round and black (resembling caviar).1 Caviar tongue is also referred to as sublingual...

Fluoride Varnish vs. Foam: What Research Shows

A patient comes in and with a chief complaint of extremely sensitive teeth. It’s painful to drink a cold beverage or eat their favorite ice cream. They even struggle with the simple act of brushing their teeth. You know the answer to their problems and so does every dental hygienist across the nation: Fluoride. Whether you have patients that...

Oral Allergy Syndrome: Educate Dental Patients about Reactions to Food

Oral allergy syndrome (OAS), which is also called pollen-fruit allergy syndrome, is a type of food allergy that causes instant allergic reactions in the mouth and throat. The syndrome is caused by cross-reacting allergens found in both pollen and the protein in raw fruits, vegetables, and tree nuts. This reaction occurs usually from eating raw or fully ripened fresh fruits...

Dental Patient Video Messaging: Smile, You’re on Camera!

In 2018, my husband and I were interviewing college coaches for our son (and, no, not the Lori Loughlin kind of “coach”). A friend at a university recommended a company that could help us navigate the minefield of discussions. My dear, sweet son had become a different soul in his teenage years. As I looked onto the horizon, I saw...

Scarlet Fever: Why Should Dental Professionals Pay Attention to Medical History?

With the extensive list of conditions on a dental health history, it can be quite overwhelming to really know about all of them and how they affect the dental appointment. While scarlet and rheumatic fever is not too common anymore, there’s still a reason it’s listed on health histories. I have even seen it marked on the health history of...

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