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...

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...

A Dental Hygienist’s Role in Early Childhood Caries Prevention

Early childhood caries (ECC) is one of the most common chronic childhood diseases, and possibly the most preventable. The American Academy of Pediatric Dentistry (AAPD) defines ECC as a significant chronic disease resulting from an imbalance of multiple risk and protective factors over time1. In the United States, 3-6% of children under the age of 6 are affected by...

Hygienist Confession: Yeah, I Leave Stain. Here’s Why.

I am a “self-proclaimed” perfectionist. I need to know I am doing the best job I can while striving to do it better. Sound familiar? A little like most hygienists you know? If you had asked me ten years ago that I would knowingly leave stain on people’s teeth, I would have laughed. Knowing this may have caused me to...

3D Imaging: Benefits for Dental Hygienists in Perio, Endo, and Ortho

The potential for three-dimensional imaging in dentistry is widespread. Hygienists use two-dimensional images on a daily basis, but they do not provide the amount of detail that the three-dimensional counterpart does. According to one source, “In two-dimensional imaging, evaluation of bone craters, lamina dura, and periodontal bone level is limited by projection geometry and superpositions of adjacent anatomical structures.” Two-dimensional...

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...

How to Build Relationships with Your Patients

In any healthcare setting, you are interacting with different types of people. Clinically, as dental professionals, you are working with a community of many different personality types. Because of a dental hygienist's one-on-one interaction with patients, it is crucial to make a connection. Making professional relationships with patients will only improve the overall care and treatment experience. Having relationships with...

Eagle Syndrome: How RDHs Can Distinguish it from TMD

Eagle syndrome is a rare condition where the styloid process becomes elongated or the stylohyoid ligaments become calcified. When the process elongates, it can constrict nerves, the carotid artery, and create a variety of symptoms that are often misdiagnosed. (see Image 1 and 2) The condition was discovered by Dr. Watt W. Eagle in 1937, an otolaryngologist at Duke University....

Oral Piercing, Tattooing: RDHs Can Help Inform Patients about Body Modifications

Self-expression comes in many forms, including body modifications such as tattoos and piercings. Intraoral or perioral piercings and tattoos are more popular than ever. The awareness of how these changes may affect oral health, however, is minimal. Dental hygienists can help answer patient questions concerning oral modifications, provide information about associated risks, and educate on after-care for the best...

Reviewing the Relationship of Mental Health with Dental Hygiene Care

Dentistry can be associated with anxiety, phobias, and acute stress. Conversely, these psychological disorders can be associated with dental diseases such as erosion, caries, and periodontal disease.5 Stress, anxiety, and depression may negatively affect the catabolic and anabolic pathways the body uses to react and adjust to reestablish homeostasis. The body’s response to stress is to activate the sympathetic...

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