What Hygienists Need to Consider when Treating Patients with Malocclusion

Malocclusion is defined as “irregular contact of opposing teeth in the upper and lower jaws.”1 Most people with minimal knowledge of dentistry view it as an esthetic problem and not an oral health problem. Not only are there oral health implications, but general health can be affected too. It is estimated that about 65% of the U.S. population has...

Interview: A Hygienist’s Experience with Cetacaine Liquid Topical Anesthetic

Article sponsored by Cetylite. Cherie Wink, RDH was not a paid endorser for this article. Cetacaine Liquid (Benzocaine 14%, Butamben 2%, Tetracaine HCl 2%), the prescription topical anesthetic from Cetylite, is frequently recommended as a pain control option for procedures such as scaling and root planing. Cetacaine can be placed into periodontal pockets to provide 30 to 60 minutes of...

What Hygienists Need to Know About Saliva, Xylitol, and Xerostomia

Article sponsored by OraCoat. Unless a person suffers from xerostomia (dry mouth), most people don’t give a second thought to saliva. That is until they are seated in the dental chair and find themselves drowning in it or are suddenly unable to swallow. All joking aside, saliva plays a crucial role in oral health. It aides in teeth remineralization, clears...

The Priority of OHI Despite Demands of Schedule: Make Time for Patient Education

Whether you recently graduated from dental hygiene school or you have been practicing for 25 years, you may find yourself in survival mode at work from time to time. Many demands are placed on our precious minutes with our patients. Daily practice of dental hygiene may include any or all of the following: radiographs, head and neck exams, periodontal...

Geriatric Care: Oral Hygiene Challenges in Care Facilities

According to the Institute on Aging, by 2030 as the last Baby Boomers turn 65, older adults are expected to reach 20% of the population.1 In 1900, only 100,000 Americans lived to be 85 plus years; by 2010, that number had grown to 5.5 million. This is the fastest growing age group of elders.1 The irony of aging and oral...

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 Should and What Should NOT be Written in a Patient’s Dental Record

A patient’s dental record is both a medical and a legal document. According to the American Dental Association, “The dental record also serves to provide continuity of care for the patient and is critical in the event of a malpractice insurance claim,” and the “information in the dental record should primarily be clinical in nature.” The following are examples of what is...

5 Step Implant Assessment

Implants are becoming commonplace in our patients, and we need to know how to care for them in office and for patient instruction. At one time, patients presented with bridges; we now know that cutting down healthy opposing teeth to give patients a biting surface is old school and that asking patients to clean under a bridge was wishful...

6 Things You Need to Know About Dental Sealants

Today’s society, especially in the U.S., is inundated with sugary liquids posing as healthy or energizing drinks. Many parents pack their children’s lunch boxes with fermentable carbohydrates such as chips and crackers, and sugary liquids such as juice boxes because they are easily accessible, and are non-perishable. Chewable vitamins and chewable sugary snacks that stick in occlusal surfaces are...

Gingival Recession: It’s Not the Toothbrush’s Fault

Let’s think about how many times we’ve heard the following chief complaints from our patients: “I have cold sensitivity,” “I’m noticing a dark spot close to my gum line (a.k.a. black triangle),” “I think I’m brushing too hard,” or, “I started flossing, and I noticed my gums starting to recede.” Raise your hand if you have heard any of...

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