Why Early Orthodontic Treatment May Be a Mistake and Not Necessary

As a dental hygienist, we are often the first to see a child and recognize that the patient may have an orthodontic problem. Assessment at a young age can indicate whether a child has the potential for a complicated case. Or, more importantly, the child has an orthodontic condition that would benefit from an early correction in the mixed...

A Refresher to Caries Risk Management Strategies

Dental caries is defined as a “biofilm-mediated, sugar-driven, multifactorial, dynamic disease that results in the phasic demineralization and remineralization of dental hard tissues.”1 It is a progressive and chronic process enabled by the continuous provision of a sugar source, often combined with substandard oral hygiene habits, as well as other factors such as the mineral composition of the saliva...

The RDH Dental Detective: Questions to Discover Childhood Sleep Disordered Breathing

As our understanding of the multiple links between the mouth and the body has increased, our roles have expanded to include care of the patient’s whole health. One aspect of whole health care that can have an enormous life-changing and life-saving effect is to screen for sleep-disordered breathing. By discovering disordered sleep breathing, the dental professional can make a difference...

Mental Nerve Block: A Welcomed Alternative in Mandibular Anesthesia

Effective anesthesia does not have to be a source of anxiety for patients or practitioners. Most of us dread the mandibular inferior alveolar nerve block (MIANB) and will try anything to avoid giving this injection. I am one of those practitioners who have explored other options to achieve pain-free anesthesia and pain-free periodontal treatment. When I was learning to give...

Cannabis Legalization Changes How Dental Practices Should Operate

The private act of cannabis use, in all of its forms, is becoming not-so-private with our patients in clinical practice. As we rang in the 2018 New Year, California officially became one among the thirty states to legalize the recreational and medicinal use of marijuana. Since January 1st, it has not taken long for citizens to begin exercising their...

The Safest Dental Appointment Begins with an Updated Medical History

"Why do I need to fill out another medical form when everything is still the same?" This is a common question dental practices deal with on a regular basis with many patients. While it may seem like an inconvenience to update a medical history, it is imperative to make sure each patient has given you all of their past...

A Practical Look at Silver Diamine Fluoride

silver diamine fluoride
As a practicing dental hygienist, I know every day I will fail to perfectly communicate the importance of diligent daily oral health care to a patient. I would like to believe that every single instance where a patient presents with gingivitis or incipient decay, I would be able to impress upon them the need to clean interdentally once, brush...

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...

Dental Education Should Be the Goal through All Stages of Pregnancy

Many factors are at play in a woman’s body during pregnancy, and the oral cavity has an important role in the health of the mother as well as for the developing baby. All healthcare providers serve a role in the education of the expecting mother. The dental team should be knowledgeable, as well as comfortable, in educating a patient...

Difficult Patients: Not an Endangered Species

You see them all the time, difficult patients. They are definitely not an endangered species. We all have those war stories. Throughout the hygiene program, and the few months I’ve been in practice, I’ve already had my fair share of difficult patients. Even though they can sometimes bring a negative atmosphere to the appointment, we still have time to...

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