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...

Finding Compassion With the Most Difficult Dental Patients

We can all think of that patient. You know, the patient you see in your schedule that makes you question whether the sudden onset of flu is approaching. When you see that name, all of the agony you know that upcoming appointment holds for you flashes through your mind, as you break into a cold sweat and your hands...

How Dental Hygienists Make Patients Feel Welcome

Not too long ago, a patient showed up with a crocheted blanket for one of our hygienists who was expecting a baby soon. I witnessed two women, one in her childbearing years and one with grown children and grandchildren, a patient and a hygienist, who had built a special relationship. I believe a bond was formed over patient care...

Bridging the Gap between Medicine and Dentistry

The question, “What does my blood pressure have to do with my teeth?” is likely one dental hygienists who take blood pressure have heard. As dental hygienists, we realize the simple answer to this question is a lot; specifically safety while under our treatment and overall health of the patient. Many clinicians have had cases of referring a patient...

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...

True Confession of a Less Than Ideal Bitewing

What’s your hygiene moment when you realize you have had an epic fail? Hopefully, none of you will ever have that experience, but I did, and I am on a mission to never let it happen again. Here’s the scenario, the patient presents for routine care. It’s a great appointment - everything status quo; health history reviewed, oral cancer...

Networking to Achieve Overall Health for Patients

Recently, at my annual well visit with my primary care physician, after the usual weight and blood pressure check, I was asked when I last had my eyes checked, when I last saw a dermatologist, when I last had a mammogram and so on. The one thing that was missing from these interview questions was when was my last...

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...

The Dental Hygiene Revolution: Reflect, Research, Take Action vs. Deflect, Accept, Do Nothing

We reflect, research, and take action on a daily basis in our clinical dental hygiene operatories. Sometimes the opposite is true of us as well; we deflect, accept, and do nothing. The latter is by far the easier route, but perhaps the most frustrating and least fulfilling. What I would like to focus on is the former, also known...

How to Make a Difference with Refugee Dental Care

The United States, throughout history, has been a refuge for those fleeing countries where the political climate or other circumstances has made living there unsafe. Although the United States’ current political climate is such that we are unsure just how many refugees will continue to be welcomed into our country, as dental professionals we must be aware of the...

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