Ankyloglossia: Please Release Me!

Ankyloglossia, also known as tongue-tie, is a congenital anomaly that may severely restrict the tongue’s range of motion. It is caused by an abnormally thick, short lingual frenulum which tethers the bottom of the tongue’s tip to the floor of the mouth. Severe tongue-ties are usually discovered at birth as it interferes with normal breast-feeding.1 If not discovered at birth...

Sealants: Not Just For Kids Anymore

As a dental hygienist, I consider myself a preventive oral healthcare specialist. Dental hygienists are one of the few healthcare providers with the primary goal of preventing disease - not just treating it. We have an entire arsenal of preventive procedures we can offer our patients which ultimately leads to reduced cost and discomfort by reducing restorative treatment needs....

Gingival Recession: It’s Not the Toothbrush’s Fault

Let’s think about how many times we’ve heard the following chief complaints from our patients: “I have cold sensitivity,” “I’m noticing a dark spot close to my gum line (a.k.a. black triangle),” “I think I’m brushing too hard,” or, “I started flossing, and I noticed my gums starting to recede.” Raise your hand if you have heard any of...

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...

The Link between Nitrous Oxide Uptake and Vitamin B12 Deficiency

Dentistry as a whole can often bring about anxiety and stress for many patients. This anxiety does not just occur when restorative work needs to be addressed, but for many, the idea of a “routine cleaning,” as well as any kind of periodontal maintenance treatment, can induce high anxiety and stress. Some people will avoid scheduling dental procedures until...

Drug Addiction: The Importance of Patient Disclosure before Dental Treatment

Working for a Federal Qualified Health Center (FQHC) is rewarding, yet the variety of patients I serve can sometimes be overwhelming and stressful. Patients I see regularly range from drug and alcohol addicts, special needs, juvenile delinquents, patients who are starting over after being in prison, AIDS/HIV, and more. Each patient is unique and has a set of health...

Botox Isn’t Just for Wrinkles Anymore: A Hygienist’s Experience with TMJ Treatment

Do you clench or grind your teeth? Wake up with headaches or stiff, tight muscles in your face? So many people are affected by the daily stress of life which can lead to clenching and grinding. Improper occlusion or airway issues can lead to bruxism and TMJ issues. Too much caffeine or too much gum chewing can lead to...

Not Just Another Set of Teeth: Building Patient Rapport

Building rapport is a term often used in a dental office. It can refer to relationships between other offices, coworkers, or most importantly our patients. To put it simply, rapport is a way of saying two people understand each other and the lines of communication are open.  When it comes to building patient rapport there will never be a...

A Simple “Look” by a Dental Hygienist Could Save a Life

As dental professionals, we are super busy; sometimes running behind, yet, trying to be as thorough as we can, while giving the best care possible to our patients. As part of our exam, we should do a once-over, looking at the patient's skin of their head and neck, as we start to do the oral cancer screening. While this...

True Confession of a Less Than Ideal Bitewing

What’s your hygiene moment when you realize you have had an epic fail? Hopefully, none of you will ever have that experience, but I did, and I am on a mission to never let it happen again. Here’s the scenario, the patient presents for routine care. It’s a great appointment - everything status quo; health history reviewed, oral cancer...

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