Baby Teeth Matter: Embrace the Opportunity to Introduce Kids to Dentistry

Do you remember your first dental visit? I do not; I was apparently too young to have any memory of that momentous occasion. However, thanks to my chosen profession, I am a part of many kiddos’ first dental visit! The American Dental Association recommends the first dental visit by age 12 months or six months after the appearance of the...

Why Home Care Should Be Flexible about Recommended Oral Hygiene Regimens

How many times have your impeccable scaling skills and topnotch, by-the-book oral hygiene recommendations and demonstrations resulted in an exhausting six-month recare appointment? The fact that plaque and calculus reinfest some mouths in six to eleven weeks (and sometimes less) sets us up for failure if we over-focus on scaling and under-focus on the cause of the biofilm reinfestation. Scaling...

6 Ways to Instill Bravery: Caring for Patients with Dental Anxiety

Have you ever put a patient back in the chair, and they blurt out, "I really hate going to the dentist?" Well, it's a good thing that this hygienist is not a dentist, eh? We all have our own forms of anxiety. If you have ever entered a dental office, which I assume you have, you are aware of dental...

Gingival Recession: When Surgical Options Should be Considered Instead of Patient Education

Gingival recession is something most of us see in our patients’ on a daily basis. It is defined as the apical migration of gingiva,1 which can cause various problems for our patients that include sensitivity, periodontal complications, esthetic concerns, and decay. Gingival recession results from many different factors such as patient habits (brushing too hard/using the wrong technique, picking...

Considerate Care for Hearing-Impaired Dental Patients

Disabling hearing loss, defined by the World Health Organization, is hearing loss greater than 40 decibels in the better ear of adults or greater than 30 decibels in children. Four hundred sixty-six million people worldwide are affected by some degree of hearing loss. Due to increases in hazardous noise exposure such as continuous city traffic noise, personal music players,...

Meeting the Dental Hygiene Needs of Geriatric Patients

According to the United States Census Bureau, by the year 2030, every baby boomer in the United States will be over the age of 651. Why is that fact important to us as Dental Hygienists? It is extremely significant, considering a ballooning geriatric population, 78 million by the year 2035 to be exact, will make up a significant portion...

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...

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...

The Doorway We Use: Dental Exams Provide Valuable Medical Alerts Too

Did you know that the mouth is a window to overall health? Think about that for a second. The anatomical area treated with our expertise is also where many health conditions and diseases begin. By thoroughly examining and paying particular attention to our patients, we can be an intervention when needed. Dental professionals possess the ability to guide patients...

Dental Patient Mentoring: Why Shaming Your Patients Doesn’t Work

Tooth brushing, eating habits, and overall health-enhancing behaviors are formed early in life. In childhood, parents and the extended family or community teach and coach body health techniques while consciously or subconsciously passing on what they themselves have learned. Adults, for example, might be aware of the negative effects of fast food, but they still intuitively pull over at a...

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