Eagle Syndrome: How RDHs Can Distinguish it from TMD

Eagle syndrome is a rare condition where the styloid process becomes elongated or the stylohyoid ligaments become calcified. When the process elongates, it can constrict nerves, the carotid artery, and create a variety of symptoms that are often misdiagnosed. (see Image 1 and 2) The condition was discovered by Dr. Watt W. Eagle in 1937, an otolaryngologist at Duke University....

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...

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...

Fibrotic Gingiva: Seeing Healthy Tissue that is Actually Diseased

They come in waves: the chronic latecomers, the anti-fluoride activists, and the just-plain-strange ones. I’m talking about patients, of course. There is another group that, if you’re not careful, you may miss altogether. And folks, this is a group you don’t want to miss. Let’s call them “the ones with the sneaky tartar.” As hygienists, what is the one thing...

Special Needs Patients: Preparing a Dental Hygiene Appointment

Every hygienist wants to provide the best care for patients, but sometimes, we don't know exactly how to do that when it comes to a patient with special needs. Hygienists tend to immediately feel at least some anxiety about the appointment with a special needs patient due to the unknown. How will the patient react in certain circumstances? How should...

Why Are You Still Delaying Periodontal Treatments?

When I graduated from dental hygiene school in the 1980s, the central idea of periodontal disease development and progression was that only specific periodontal pathogens cause periodontal disease and that all other bacteria present in the oral cavity are either beneficial or benign. It was also believed that the bacterial load must reach a certain threshold, at which point...

Panoramic and 3-Dimensional Images: Can they Detect Potential Carotid Artery Disease?

Panoramic (PAN) and three-dimensional radiographs such as cone beam computed tomography (CBCT) provides invaluable information for clinicians for various reasons. These types of imaging can be utilized daily in many types of dental practices, including general dentistry, endodontics, periodontics, oral surgery, dental imaging centers, and orthodontics. These images provide not only an enormous amount of dental information but also a...

IO-My! Getting the Perfect Anesthesia Injection

Does anyone else feel terrible when a patient nervously asks, "Am I getting a shot?" and you have to break the news of several injections? Maxillary quadrant anesthesia is often approached with a PSA, MSA, and multiple infiltrations over anterior teeth. While this is a valid approach, I prefer to minimize injections for my patients and anesthetize a maxillary quadrant...

Frenums: Checking for Frenum Abnormalities During Oral Hygiene Exams

Frenums are normal anatomy within the mouth, yet often neglected. The frenum consists of loose, fibrous connective tissue, elastic fibers, and striated muscle fibers that develop from muscle bundles of the lip. The purpose is to provide stability to the tongue and upper and lower lip. This mucous membrane fold attaches the lip and cheek to the alveolar mucosa, gingiva,...

The Close Relationship between Oral Allergy Syndrome and Seasonal Allergies

Oral Allergy Syndrome
Seasonal allergies can be dreadful. Everyone seems to be affected to some degree. Did you know that certain seasonal allergies can cause oral symptoms as well? Patients may not realize the connection or that there is a possibility that their oral symptoms could be linked to certain seasonal allergies. Studies indicate that 20% to 70% of people who suffer...

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