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...

Getting Down to It: Gingival Recession and Sensitivity

As a practicing hygienist, how many patients could you say are victims of gingival recession? I can honestly say that at least half of the patients I treat have some degree of recession. Many of them do not even know what recession is. They only understand the sensitivity that they feel as they drink or eat anything cold. Are...

To Upsell or Not, That is The Question

I have been a practicing Registered Dental Hygienist since 1987.  I cannot believe the math, but yes, 31 years! I have witnessed a lot of change over those decades. From optional ultrasonic usage for the extreme calculus “difficult prophy” cases versus daily ultrasonic/piezo usage as a standard of care, fluoride trays instead of fluoride varnish application, monster-sized clinical chairs...

Functional Medicine: Antimicrobials Should Treat Causes of Perio, Not Just Symptoms

Functional medicine is not a new concept, but it is gaining in popularity.1 A progressive hybrid of holistic and Western medicine, functional medicine aims not only to control the symptoms of disease but focus instead on the causes of disease. Dental hygienists spend much of their time combating the pathogenesis of periodontal disease, prompting the question: Are we treating...

Does Fluoride Varnish Waste Dental Hygienists’ Time?

Dental offices vary widely with the use of fluoride varnish. Some offices assume adults don’t want it, taking into consideration that it is rarely covered by most insurance for adults, and it would be an out-of-pocket expense for the patient. Some offices never even ask the patient whether or not they would like to spend those $40 on their...

Periodontal Diagnosis: How to Maintain Positive Control of the Appointment

As dental hygienists we’ve all been there, treating a new patient with a periodontal diagnosis.  How do we turn an appointment around after we diagnose a new patient who has been seen by the same dentist regularly for years yet has never heard of periodontal disease?  It’s an everyday struggle for a dental hygienist to gain control of the...

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...

Expanding Sensitivity Options

Dentin hypersensitivity is consistently a top chief complaint dental hygienists hear from patients.  Levels of sensitivity and the underlying causes of this condition can vary widely making it important to create a personalized treatment plan for each patient. Dentin hypersensitivity is characterized by short, sharp pain from exposed dentin in response to thermal, evaporative, tactile, osmotic or chemical stimuli...

Pediatric Prophylaxis: Helpful Hints for Dental Appointments with Children

An emphasis on the importance of dental health has increased the number of children seeking dental visits. A study conducted in 2014 reported that 64.6% of children under the age of 18 visited their dentist every six months.1 This statistic increased to 84.6% in another study conducted in 2017.2 Implementing a successful pediatric visit will often encourage children and their...

How to Build Good Rapport with Patients and Set Yourself Apart

Have you ever had a patient ask, “So, what do you think?” after the dentist walks out of the room? If so, that patient trusts you not only with his/her oral health care but also with an important financial decision. You have developed a good rapport with that patient, and maintaining it is extremely important for many reasons. We...

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