Don’t Sugarcoat: Inform Every Patient about Their Dental Hygiene Diagnosis

No amount of time will be enough to do everything perfectly during each dental appointment. You need to make small talk with the patient, take vitals, go over health history, take radiographs, perform an oral cancer screening, record a full periodontal assessment, scale, polish, floss, teach patients how to perfect their home care, assist the doctor for an exam,...

Dentures: How Hygienists Can Educate the Insistent Patient about Edentulism

Dentures. Sometimes we stumble across the patient who is insistent about full mouth extractions and upper and lower dentures. Dental professionals realize the importance of first doing the obvious, gathering all of the facts and data about the patient, which includes complete dental records and (most critical) good listening skills. Why are these patients adamant about dentures? The reasons patients...

Dental Implants: Smoking Effects on Dental Implants

Dental implant placement has gained popularity over the years as an effective, long-term tooth replacement option. Under the right conditions, dental implants have a success rate of 98%.1 However, dental implants have some drawbacks, such as implant failure due to smoking. Thus, a thorough patient screening is important prior to dental implant treatment planning. A dental implant is a screw-like...

How to Build Relationships with Your Patients

In any healthcare setting, you are interacting with different types of people. Clinically, as dental professionals, you are working with a community of many different personality types. Because of a dental hygienist's one-on-one interaction with patients, it is crucial to make a connection. Making professional relationships with patients will only improve the overall care and treatment experience. Having relationships with...

Be Prepared to Provide Dental Hygiene Care for Pregnant Patients

Pregnancy changes the whole body and the changes range from psychological-emotional swings to the more obvious physical changes. The mouth is not an exception to the many changes in the body. Several conditions may appear during pregnancy, including pregnancy gingivitis, to even the beginning signs of postpartum depression.1 Poor oral health during pregnancy may lead to poor health for the...

The Importance of Knowing a Patient’s Health History (And How to Simplify the Process)

At my current office, I am probably considered a health history nag, but I am okay with that! I would prefer to be known for this because patients are then actively involved in their dental care when they participate in updating their health history at EVERY appointment. When hygienists involve patients this way, we are able to educate patients...

How Increased Marijuana Legalization Impacts Oral Health of Dental Patients

The legalization and decriminalization of marijuana use medically and recreationally have increased over the years. Although seven states are still waiting on approval from legislatures, 16 states have declared full legalization of the use of medicinal marijuana, as well as recreational marijuana. The remaining states vary between medical use only or the use of CBD oils for medical purposes.1 However,...

Home Care: Helping the Dental Patient Develop Lasting Oral Health Habits

As rewarding as a dental hygiene career can be, there will always be challenges. One of the biggest frustrations in dental hygiene practice is patients’ non-compliance with home care instructions. It is important to figure out what is holding them back. Possibilities could include the lack of skill or dexterity, not understanding the instructions given, or simply not valuing their...

Mental Health: Dental Hygienists’ Skills Can Help Patients

Dental hygienists are likely to encounter individuals who are living with serious mental illness, including people who may be at risk for suicide.1 Medical history and verbal disclosures shared with dental hygienists may include details about antipsychotic and antidepressant medications or symptoms and a history of mental illness and/or substance use, including tobacco. Friends, family, and the healthcare team need...

Radiation Protection: Ensuring Low Risks with Dental Exposures

Substantial evidence demonstrates a significant increase in the use of medical imaging. Computerized tomography and ionizing radiation imaging have improved medicine and dentistry in many ways. The ability to use digital imaging has eliminated many invasive exploratory procedures. Medical professionals can more easily diagnose many conditions and diseases. A statement by the U.S. Food & Drug Administration (FDA) declared, “The...

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