Special Needs Patients: Preparing a Dental Hygiene Appointment

Every hygienist wants to provide the best care for patients, but sometimes, we don't know exactly how to do that when it comes to a patient with special needs. Hygienists tend to immediately feel at least some anxiety about the appointment with a special needs patient due to the unknown. How will the patient react in certain circumstances? How should...

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...

Tonsil Stones: Unraveling the Mysteries Found in Dental Patients’ Crypts

Crypt. It sounds like something one would visualize in a horror story. For some, tonsil crypts can be a kind of horror story as they become infested with tonsil stones, causing unwanted malodor even after thorough brushing, tongue scraping, interdental cleaning, and rinsing. This can become a frustrating concern for many people. Dental hygienists can provide a variety of recommendations...

The RDH Detective: Discovering Sleep Disordered Breathing in Adults

This is an exciting time to be a dental health professional. As our understanding of the multiple links between the mouth and the body has increased, our roles have expanded to include comprehensive care of the patient’s whole health. One aspect of whole health care that can have an enormous life-changing and lifesaving effect is to screen for sleep-disordered...

Autoimmune Diseases: Making Sense of Dental Patients’ Complaints

When a patient states that they have an autoimmune disease, I admit that generalizations about the diseases enter my mind, but not the specifics of each disease. While I know that immune function is decreased and good home care is especially needed, it may be just enough to know what to look for during the appointment. However, patients will voice...

The Safest Dental Appointment Begins with an Updated Medical History

"Why do I need to fill out another medical form when everything is still the same?" This is a common question dental practices deal with on a regular basis with many patients. While it may seem like an inconvenience to update a medical history, it is imperative to make sure each patient has given you all of their past...

Mental Nerve Block: A Welcomed Alternative in Mandibular Anesthesia

Effective anesthesia does not have to be a source of anxiety for patients or practitioners. Most of us dread the mandibular inferior alveolar nerve block (MIANB) and will try anything to avoid giving this injection. I am one of those practitioners who have explored other options to achieve pain-free anesthesia and pain-free periodontal treatment. When I was learning to give...

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...

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...

Oral Implications of Frequent Marijuana Use

In the United States, the use of marijuana has almost doubled since 2013, going from 7% to 13% of adult Americans using marijuana regularly, either recreationally or medically.1 Although the use of the drug is still federally banned, many states have limited legal restrictions to the drug, allowing people to gain easier access to various forms of marijuana for...

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