Why Hygienists Should Take the Blood Pressure of EVERY Patient

Let me ask you a question: how many of you take blood pressure readings on your patients before beginning treatment? For those of you who take blood pressure readings on your patients, bravo to you! You have my respect; you may now skip the rest of this article, pass Go, and collect $200. But for those of you who...

The Topic of Topicals: Pain Management with Benzocaine Encourages Dental Patient Comfort

In our line of work, many dental hygiene patients present with varying levels of anxiety. While fears range from gagging to feeling pain during procedures, one of the most common fears seems to be injections. Pain management is an important aspect of a successful dental appointment, but many patients tend to overlook the advantages of being anesthetized during treatment. As...

Sealants: Not Just For Kids Anymore

As a dental hygienist, I consider myself a preventive oral healthcare specialist. Dental hygienists are one of the few healthcare providers with the primary goal of preventing disease - not just treating it. We have an entire arsenal of preventive procedures we can offer our patients which ultimately leads to reduced cost and discomfort by reducing restorative treatment needs....

Oral Cancer: Update on Dangers of Smokeless Tobacco for Dental Hygienists

The Oral Cancer Foundation states the average age of a first-time smokeless tobacco user is just 10 years old. As seen with the recent trends in vaping, tobacco companies consistently use flavoring and fun packaging to entice younger customers to buy products that are ultimately addictive and damaging to their health. Smokeless tobacco users absorb two to three times the...

Geriatric Care: Oral Hygiene Challenges in Care Facilities

According to the Institute on Aging, by 2030 as the last Baby Boomers turn 65, older adults are expected to reach 20% of the population.1 In 1900, only 100,000 Americans lived to be 85 plus years; by 2010, that number had grown to 5.5 million. This is the fastest growing age group of elders.1 The irony of aging and oral...

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...

6 Ways to Instill Bravery: Caring for Patients with Dental Anxiety

Have you ever put a patient back in the chair, and they blurt out, "I really hate going to the dentist?" Well, it's a good thing that this hygienist is not a dentist, eh? We all have our own forms of anxiety. If you have ever entered a dental office, which I assume you have, you are aware of dental...

The Boomers: Enhancing the Dental Hygienist’s Communication Skills for the Elders

We all chose dentistry for different reasons. Our technical skills were developed and nurtured throughout college, but communication skills were never a clear focus in our curriculum, as far as I could tell. I think there is always the assumption that we had already developed great “people skills” by the time we entered college. After graduation, many clinicians realize that...

Lip Tattoos: Help Dental Patients Think before They Ink

Humans have marked their bodies with tattoos for thousands of years, and these permanent designs are always personal, serving as status symbols, signs of religious beliefs, amulets, declarations of love, adornments, and even as forms of punishment. People tattoo every part of their bodies, including their inner labial mucosa, gingiva, and hard palate as a form of self-expression. Celebrities such...

Active Reflective Listening: Improving Communication Between Dental Patients and Staff

Have you ever wondered if anyone is actually listening? Do you feel like there is a breakdown of communication somewhere, and this is inhibiting your ability to get your message across to patients, staff members, and maybe even friends and family? I have been there, both as a clinician and a patient, as well as a family member and friend....

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