The Dental Hygiene Revolution: Reflect, Research, Take Action vs. Deflect, Accept, Do Nothing

We reflect, research, and take action on a daily basis in our clinical dental hygiene operatories. Sometimes the opposite is true of us as well; we deflect, accept, and do nothing. The latter is by far the easier route, but perhaps the most frustrating and least fulfilling. What I would like to focus on is the former, also known...

IO/EO Exam: How My Mother’s Thyroidectomy Changes My Perspective about Exam

The scary “C” word, cancer, could naturally cause a clouded judgment to anyone affected by it. You have a hard time seeing the light at the tunnel and question everything leading up to the diagnosis. “Why me?” “Am I going to die?” “No, are you sure?” These are all thoughts that could run through a worried mind. At least it...

Air Polishing Dangers: Case Study of an Injured Dental Patient

A friend recently reached out to me and other dental professionals on Facebook to ask for help regarding a soft tissue injury sustained while his dental hygienist was using an air polisher. We’ll just refer to this fellow as Joe to protect his privacy. Joe has seemingly suffered every complication and long-term side effect from treatment for head-and-neck cancer...

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...

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...

Disposal of Opioids: How Hygienists Can Prevent Abuse through Education

Dental hygienists are acutely aware that the opioid crisis exists. However, we do not always put ourselves on the front lines of curbing dangerous practices that contribute to the misuse or unlawful distribution of these medicines. Years ago, when I was a dental hygiene student, I remember throwing my back out of place. I was given two prescriptions − one...

Dental Sealants: Making a Choice in Etching

We are all very aware of how effective dental sealants are against caries. The thin, little barriers placed in the pits and fissures of molar and premolar teeth have been around in one form or another since 1966. They have acted as a formidable defense in the fight against plaque and bacteria that would normally cause carious lesions. You may have...

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...

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...

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....

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