A Dental Hygienists’ Refresher on Periodontal Probing

Dental hygienists learn early on that the periodontal probe is essentially our greatest tool in the assessment of periodontal health. Periodontal probing creates a record of health or disease over time that dental hygienists can reference to, evaluate healing, or determine the possible need to implement a more aggressive treatment plan. Including dental radiographs, a complete periodontal evaluation allows...

The Happy Visit: How to Treat a Child at Their First Dental Appointment

Note: This is Part 2 of Debbi Viger’s series, Special Needs: Everyone Has Special Needs. Read Part 1 here. If every patient is to be treated as special, young children need to be treated as super special! It is most important that young children learn to love the dental office. We can eliminate fear and apprehension by setting the future of...

What Hygienists Need to Know About Basal Cell Carcinoma

When greeting your patients, do you look them in the eye and evaluate their face overall? It is important as you walk with them to notice their gait and general appearance. I recently had a new patient present and noticed a small reddened area along her lower lash line. Before placing our darkened, protective glasses, I inquired about the area to...

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...

Upper Airway Resistance Syndrome: The Importance of a Dental Diagnosis

As dental clinicians, the medical history and clinical examination of our patients play important roles in differentiating vital signs which may be affecting the patient’s medical and dental health. Recently, the dental community has become more aware of the potential risks to medical health through disrupted sleep patterns caused by anatomical facial variances. Dental clinicians can initiate the diagnosis...

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...

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...

5 Step Implant Assessment

Implants are becoming commonplace in our patients, and we need to know how to care for them in office and for patient instruction. At one time, patients presented with bridges; we now know that cutting down healthy opposing teeth to give patients a biting surface is old school and that asking patients to clean under a bridge was wishful...

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...

The Priority of OHI Despite Demands of Schedule: Make Time for Patient Education

Whether you recently graduated from dental hygiene school or you have been practicing for 25 years, you may find yourself in survival mode at work from time to time. Many demands are placed on our precious minutes with our patients. Daily practice of dental hygiene may include any or all of the following: radiographs, head and neck exams, periodontal...

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