Oral Implications of Frequent Marijuana Use

In the United States, the use of marijuana has almost doubled since 2013, going from 7% to 13% of adult Americans using marijuana regularly, either recreationally or medically.1 Although the use of the drug is still federally banned, many states have limited legal restrictions to the drug, allowing people to gain easier access to various forms of marijuana for...

Periodontal Maintenance: Taking the Guesswork Out of the 4910

By definition, the 4910 periodontal maintenance code is defined as the procedure following periodontal therapy and continues at varying intervals determined by the clinical evaluation. It includes removal of bacterial plaque, calculus, from supra and sub-regions, and SITE specific SRP where indicated, as well as polishing the teeth1. My focus this month is not to dissect the code and...

Why Caries Detection is More than Just Looking for “Stickiness”

Patients and dental professionals don’t always see eye to eye on dental needs, but carious lesions are one thing they often agree on. No one wants to hear the dreaded words that you, or your child, have a cavity. Through various lectures of my schooling, caries detection, both traditional and newer age techniques, have been addressed. Traditionally, caries detection was...

Medical History: Your Patient is Not Telling You Everything

We’ve all heard it before when questioning a patient about their medical history, “There is no change.” Patients are so quick to tell us no change or that nothing pertains to their teeth in regards to their medical history. Little do these patients know their medical history is a big key to unlocking their dental health care assessment and...

The Great Fluoride Debate: Patients Who Refuse Fluoride

Note: This is Part 4 of Debbi Viger’s series, Special Needs: Everyone Has Special Needs. Read Part 1 here, Part 2 here, and Part 3 here. Every patient who sits in our chair has preconceived notions of what is right and what is wrong. Some patients feel that chemicals are evil, toothpaste is potentially life-threatening, and a fluoride treatment is not...

IO-My! Getting the Perfect Anesthesia Injection

Does anyone else feel terrible when a patient nervously asks, "Am I getting a shot?" and you have to break the news of several injections? Maxillary quadrant anesthesia is often approached with a PSA, MSA, and multiple infiltrations over anterior teeth. While this is a valid approach, I prefer to minimize injections for my patients and anesthetize a maxillary quadrant...

How Dental Hygienists Can Help Patients with Dental Phobias

How many times a week do you hear the phrases, “I hate the dentist, I always dread coming here, I would rather be somewhere else,” or some other phrase indicating the patient highly dislikes being at the dental office, which includes your operatory? When hearing these phrases, we can either become offended at the statement, and take it personally,...

Due Diligence Hygienists Should Take for Dry Mouth Patients

Each time a patient sits down in my chair, I ask them a series of questions before I do anything else: Are there any changes in your health since we last saw you in the office? Are you currently taking any medications, either prescribed or over-the-counter? Is there anything giving you any trouble in your mouth? Any pain, sensitivity,...

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...

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