Oral Implications of Cancer Treatment Hygienists Need to Know

Approximately 1.7 million cancer cases are expected to be diagnosed in 2019, and over 600,000 are expected to die from cancer this year.1 In fact, 1 in 3 will personally deal with cancer in their lifetime.1 With these kinds of statistics, it is realistic to say each of us will either personally experience cancer or will have a family...

4 Tips to Help Achieve Patient Compliance

We hear about seemingly difficult patients quite often. “My patient was so difficult.” “I can’t believe my patient would possibly tell me he is OK with such poor oral health!” We may even be guilty of making some of the preceding complaints. As clinicians, the care we provide is reliant on the amount of success we can achieve in gaining...

5 Tips for Treating Geriatric Patients

Have you heard "I'm too old for x-rays!" from a geriatric patient? Age is but a number, and it is not an excuse for below standard of care. Quality dental care is always a must, no matter the age. First, who is categorized as a geriatric? On average, adults older than age 65 can be grouped in this category. According...

Interview: A Hygienist’s Experience with Cetacaine Liquid Topical Anesthetic

Article sponsored by Cetylite. Cherie Wink, RDH was not a paid endorser for this article. Cetacaine Liquid (Benzocaine 14%, Butamben 2%, Tetracaine HCl 2%), the prescription topical anesthetic from Cetylite, is frequently recommended as a pain control option for procedures such as scaling and root planing. Cetacaine can be placed into periodontal pockets to provide 30 to 60 minutes of...

Oral Cancer: Why the Biopsy is Still the Most Important Treatment to Recommend

According to the Oral Cancer Foundation, one person in the United States dies every hour each day from oral cancer. Dental hygienists are often the first clinician to find these cancers in our patients’ mouths. The identification of suspicious lesions in the oral cavity can be tricky. However, the more familiar we become with the lesions, we will hopefully...

Air Polishing Dangers: Case Study of an Injured Dental Patient

A friend recently reached out to me and other dental professionals on Facebook to ask for help regarding a soft tissue injury sustained while his dental hygienist was using an air polisher. We’ll just refer to this fellow as Joe to protect his privacy. Joe has seemingly suffered every complication and long-term side effect from treatment for head-and-neck cancer...

What Hygienists Need to Know About Saliva, Xylitol, and Xerostomia

Article sponsored by OraCoat. Unless a person suffers from xerostomia (dry mouth), most people don’t give a second thought to saliva. That is until they are seated in the dental chair and find themselves drowning in it or are suddenly unable to swallow. All joking aside, saliva plays a crucial role in oral health. It aides in teeth remineralization, clears...

4 Tips to Using Dental Lasers in the Hygiene Operatory

Does your state allow hygienists to use laser as an adjunct to dental treatment? If yes, are you laser certified? If you have access to a laser, look up a class, and get certified! Not only is learning something new super fun, but the laser is also beneficial and straightforward to use. For many, lasers seem daunting and slightly scary,...

Patient Relationships: Empathy Fosters Trust and Treatment Acceptance

Empathy: A quality of interpersonal effectiveness that involves sharing others’ feelings; an ability to feel or perceive things from others’ points of view.1 Given the information that empathetic physicians have greater patient satisfaction,2 this article explores the benefits from the display of empathy by dental practitioners. The practice of thinking and feeling empathy affects provider/patient relationships. An empathetic practitioner can...

Disposal of Opioids: How Hygienists Can Prevent Abuse through Education

Dental hygienists are acutely aware that the opioid crisis exists. However, we do not always put ourselves on the front lines of curbing dangerous practices that contribute to the misuse or unlawful distribution of these medicines. Years ago, when I was a dental hygiene student, I remember throwing my back out of place. I was given two prescriptions − one...

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