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...

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...

The Importance of Knowing a Patient’s Health History (And How to Simplify the Process)

At my current office, I am probably considered a health history nag, but I am okay with that! I would prefer to be known for this because patients are then actively involved in their dental care when they participate in updating their health history at EVERY appointment. When hygienists involve patients this way, we are able to educate patients...

Due Diligence Hygienists Should Take for Dry Mouth Patients

Each time a patient sits down in my chair, I ask them a series of questions before I do anything else: Are there any changes in your health since we last saw you in the office? Are you currently taking any medications, either prescribed or over-the-counter? Is there anything giving you any trouble in your mouth? Any pain, sensitivity,...

Forming Relationships: The Single Most Important Thing One Can Do in a Lifetime

Recently, my house was crazy; my graduation, a full-time faculty interview for a position in dental hygiene education, my son’s high school graduation, all in the midst of us moving from our house of ten years. Crazy, may not even touch it! Nevertheless, I was present in all aspects of each event, despite the chaos surrounding us. Being present manifested...

A Simple “Look” by a Dental Hygienist Could Save a Life

As dental professionals, we are super busy; sometimes running behind, yet, trying to be as thorough as we can, while giving the best care possible to our patients. As part of our exam, we should do a once-over, looking at the patient's skin of their head and neck, as we start to do the oral cancer screening. While this...

Patients with Dental Phobias: How Do We Gain Trust?

Trust me; we have all been in this position before. As soon as we sit the patient down in the dental chair, we experience resentment and fear. As a dental hygienist, I cannot begin to tell you how many times patients tell me that they hate the dentist. I personally find it amusing the way the patient explains this...

A Life Behind Bars or a Future You Can See: Traditional Braces vs. Clear Aligners

Dear dental hygienists, I know it’s tough to perform a prophylaxis around braces. You know how hard it is for the patient to maintain cleanliness, living a dental life behind “bars.” We know for a fact that dentistry is advancing especially when clear aligners are available as an option for patients. Although this is not for us to decide...

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...

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...

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