Dental Sealants: Saving Teeth since the 1960s

Tooth decay is no stranger to the dental professional. In fact, it isn’t a stranger to most! According to a study done by the CDC, 1 out of every five children aged 5-11 and 1 of 7 adolescents aged 12-19 have dental decay. However, children are not the only ones who suffer from dental decay. According to the CDC,...

The Very Special Education Process of Medical History Disclosure

Note: This is Part 5 of Debbi Viger’s series, Special Needs: Everyone Has Special Needs. Read Part 1 here, Part 2 here, Part 3 here, and Part 4 here. Each of us experiences the patient that just disagrees with everything. The challenge, and often most rewarding portion of our appointment, is getting to yes. Often it starts in the reception area, was the wait...

How to Connect with Patients and Get Results

Oral health promotion plays a primary part in our role as Registered Dental Hygienists. We are in fact, Oral Health Practitioners. How often though, do our patients come through those revolving dental doors every three, four, or six months with the same deposits, plaque, and lack of oral care they present with time after time? It cannot be our...

Periodontal Maintenance: Taking the Guesswork Out of the 4910

By definition, the 4910 periodontal maintenance code is defined as the procedure following periodontal therapy and continues at varying intervals determined by the clinical evaluation. It includes removal of bacterial plaque, calculus, from supra and sub-regions, and SITE specific SRP where indicated, as well as polishing the teeth1. My focus this month is not to dissect the code and...

Medical History: Your Patient is Not Telling You Everything

We’ve all heard it before when questioning a patient about their medical history, “There is no change.” Patients are so quick to tell us no change or that nothing pertains to their teeth in regards to their medical history. Little do these patients know their medical history is a big key to unlocking their dental health care assessment and...

The Great Fluoride Debate: Patients Who Refuse Fluoride

Note: This is Part 4 of Debbi Viger’s series, Special Needs: Everyone Has Special Needs. Read Part 1 here, Part 2 here, and Part 3 here. Every patient who sits in our chair has preconceived notions of what is right and what is wrong. Some patients feel that chemicals are evil, toothpaste is potentially life-threatening, and a fluoride treatment is not...

IO-My! Getting the Perfect Anesthesia Injection

Does anyone else feel terrible when a patient nervously asks, "Am I getting a shot?" and you have to break the news of several injections? Maxillary quadrant anesthesia is often approached with a PSA, MSA, and multiple infiltrations over anterior teeth. While this is a valid approach, I prefer to minimize injections for my patients and anesthetize a maxillary quadrant...

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,...

The Education Process of Prophylaxis vs. Scaling and Root Planing

Note: This is Part 3 of Debbi Viger’s series, Special Needs: Everyone Has Special Needs. Read Part 1 here and Part 2 here. Why do some patients have such a difficult time wrapping their head around the difference between a traditional, preventive “cleaning” and treatment for disease? Every hygienist goes through this at some point, trying desperately to explain prophylaxis vs....

Communication in Dentistry: The Layman’s Way

Communication is the process by which information is exchanged between individuals through a common system of articulation. This article will focus on replacing dental terms and conditions using layman terms to ensure patient understanding and, thus, better communication. Providing a clearer picture of the diagnosis, treatment or recommendations will allow clinicians to bridge the gap between themselves and their...

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