Why Hygienists Should Take the Blood Pressure of EVERY Patient

Let me ask you a question: how many of you take blood pressure readings on your patients before beginning treatment? For those of you who take blood pressure readings on your patients, bravo to you! You have my respect; you may now skip the rest of this article, pass Go, and collect $200. But for those of you who...

Metabolic Syndrome: Multiple Health Conditions Influence Path of Dental Care

Metabolic syndrome represents multiple conditions that have risk factors for cardiovascular disease. The term is not for a solo disease but rather a group of medically high-risk conditions. When combined, the conditions cause serious health issues. According to the International Diabetes Federation, metabolic syndrome is defined as “a cluster of the most dangerous heart attack risk factors: diabetes and...

Tardive Dyskinesia: Dental Hygienists Can Monitor for Effects of Antipsychotic Medications

Tardive dyskinesia (TD) is a serious side effect from the long-term use of certain antipsychotic drugs used to treat mental illness. TD may present itself with uncontrolled, continuous jerking movements of the face, tongue, and jaw, as well as other body parts.1 These movements are uncontrolled by the patient and may appear as though they are gnashing their teeth...

Bell’s Palsy: Sudden Onset can Influence Home Care, Dental Hygiene Appointment

Bell's Palsy
Bell’s palsy is a temporary weakness or paralysis that affects the seventh cranial nerve, commonly known as the facial nerve.2 Also known as “acute peripheral facial palsy of unknown cause,”1 this condition is frequently referred to as idiopathic because it often arrives without any known cause.1,2 Dental patients who have experienced Bell’s palsy may have difficulty adapting to “normal” oral...

5 Everyday Tasks that Affect Patients’ Oral Health

Everyone has a daily routine. Some people brush their teeth and then grab a cup of coffee on the way to work. Certain routines affect oral health. Here are some simple things that many people, including dental hygienists, may forget are not the best for them to do. 1) Sipping all day! Sipping on sugary and acidic coffees, teas, energy drinks,...

How Children with Autism View the Dental Experience

Dental providers consistently strive to provide comfortable care to all patients. However, children on the autism spectrum present a particular challenge in dental care due to sensory and communication issues. The prevalence of diagnosed autism disorders has increased. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, one in 54 children has been identified with an autism spectrum disorder. This...

A Dental Hygienists’ Refresher on Periodontal Probing

Dental hygienists learn early on that the periodontal probe is essentially our greatest tool in the assessment of periodontal health. Periodontal probing creates a record of health or disease over time that dental hygienists can reference to, evaluate healing, or determine the possible need to implement a more aggressive treatment plan. Including dental radiographs, a complete periodontal evaluation allows...

What Hygienists Should Say When Patients Refuse Dental Radiographs

When a dental hygienist struggles to talk a patient into receiving the basic standard of care, the frustrating experience can leave an indelible on a career. Eyes roll across the country during morning huddles when the hygienist spots a familiar patient name with the words “Overdue for x-rays” on the schedule! Exploring and practicing communication skills through verbal scripting strategies...

5 Steps Hygienists Can Take to Boost Oral Health Compliance

Think about something for a moment. How would you feel if there was something everybody else seemed to have, seemed to be able to do, and you couldn’t? What if you practiced it every single day of your life? What if, twice a year like clockwork, you were told that your best efforts to do this thing that everyone...

How Dental Hygienists Can Introduce Gallstones Into the Oral-Systemic Discussion

As a dental hygienist, I thought I had a decent overall understanding of the human body since our curriculum includes biology, chemistry, anatomy, and physiology. One day out of the blue, I experienced abdominal pain so severe I thought it was a severe acid reflux attack. It was a little strange for me because, if I occasionally get a mild...

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