The Education Process of Prophylaxis vs. Scaling and Root Planing

Note: This is Part 3 of Debbi Viger’s series, Special Needs: Everyone Has Special Needs. Read Part 1 here and Part 2 here. Why do some patients have such a difficult time wrapping their head around the difference between a traditional, preventive “cleaning” and treatment for disease? Every hygienist goes through this at some point, trying desperately to explain prophylaxis vs....

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...

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...

Communication in Dentistry: The Layman’s Way

Communication is the process by which information is exchanged between individuals through a common system of articulation. This article will focus on replacing dental terms and conditions using layman terms to ensure patient understanding and, thus, better communication. Providing a clearer picture of the diagnosis, treatment or recommendations will allow clinicians to bridge the gap between themselves and their...

5 Things to Consider Before Recommending a Toothbrush to Patients

How much thought do you put into your patients’ home care products? I think most hygienists do put effort into recommending products. Maybe it is because they have seen those products work for patients in the past. However, some are very limited in their recommendations because the practice will only purchase certain products; usually, less expensive products that are...

Dedication to Patient Education

In the world of dentistry, being a hygienist requires you to be the best dental professional you can possibly be to care for your patients to the highest standards. Throughout my career, the things that have encompassed serving my patients to the highest standards have been educating my patients at EVERY appointment, thoroughly reviewing medical history in order to...

Can You Identify the Signs of Diabetes, Hormone Disturbances, or Cancer?

As dental hygienists, we have the opportunity to spend an estimated 45 to 60 minutes with our patients at each appointment. Performing intraoral and extraoral examinations offers us the ability to be dental healthcare detectives; we can sometimes identify patient’s potential health issues before the patients recognize them themselves. I can remember an occasion when a patient asked me about...

The First Line of Defense Against Oral Cancer

Truth be told, cancer in its many forms has touched the lives of almost every single person I know. No one is safe from a cancer diagnosis. Countless children have been left without their parents, and countless parents have been left without answers. So many of us that have lost someone to cancer walk the desolate halls of grief;...

How to Discuss Periodontal Disease & Lung/Colon Cancer with Patients

When patients usually think of cancer in a dental setting, the initial thought is oral cancer. As a hygienist, I incorporate an intraoral cancer screening on every patient, examining the tissues of the oral cavity and looking for anything abnormal. Occasionally, a patient will comment, “Doesn’t oral cancer only happen when you use tobacco?” This is an opportunity to...

How Small Gestures Can Help with Apprehensive Patients

We have all had that patient, the one that is terrified of being at the dentist. They look terrified from the moment you call their name and ask them to head to the back. These overwhelmed patients, in all their fear, don’t realize how their stress can affect you, as a clinician. How do you handle them? These patients...

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