How to Handle Patients with Bad Attitudes

Whether you’re a dental hygienist, dentist, or assistant, dealing with patients who have negative attitudes can be quite frustrating. Raising of voices, a rude comment, or a sarcastic tone of voice from a patient can make what would have otherwise been a pleasant interaction so much more tiresome to deal with. Luckily for you, there are ways to completely turn...

Dear IA Nerve Block: It’s Not Me, It’s YOU!

It’s time to breakup with the Inferior Alveolar Nerve Block As a seasoned educator and content expert in the delivery of dental local anesthesia, I find most of my esteemed colleagues, myself included, share a profound frustration over the seemingly inadequate anesthesia delivered to achieve mandibular numbness.  In simplest terms, the provision of mandibular anesthesia has most commonly been the...

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,...

Ankyloglossia: Please Release Me!

Ankyloglossia, also known as tongue-tie, is a congenital anomaly that may severely restrict the tongue’s range of motion. It is caused by an abnormally thick, short lingual frenulum which tethers the bottom of the tongue’s tip to the floor of the mouth. Severe tongue-ties are usually discovered at birth as it interferes with normal breast-feeding.1 If not discovered at birth...

How to Ensure Patients Actually Use Recommended Oral Health Devices

Many dental hygienists probably give unsolicited advice to random strangers in the oral health aisle of the local superstore. Yes, you know who you are! Why give advice to only random strangers, though? You should be encouraging your own patients to purchase the devices, get them out of the box, and plug them in! Recently, I was having a conversation...

The Importance of Knowing a Patient’s Health History (And How to Simplify the Process)

At my current office, I am probably considered a health history nag, but I am okay with that! I would prefer to be known for this because patients are then actively involved in their dental care when they participate in updating their health history at EVERY appointment. When hygienists involve patients this way, we are able to educate patients...

Forming Relationships: The Single Most Important Thing One Can Do in a Lifetime

Recently, my house was crazy; my graduation, a full-time faculty interview for a position in dental hygiene education, my son’s high school graduation, all in the midst of us moving from our house of ten years. Crazy, may not even touch it! Nevertheless, I was present in all aspects of each event, despite the chaos surrounding us. Being present manifested...

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...

Oral Implications of Cancer Treatment Hygienists Need to Know

Approximately 1.7 million cancer cases are expected to be diagnosed in 2019, and over 600,000 are expected to die from cancer this year.1 In fact, 1 in 3 will personally deal with cancer in their lifetime.1 With these kinds of statistics, it is realistic to say each of us will either personally experience cancer or will have a family...

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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