Ankyloglossia: Please Release Me!

Ankyloglossia, also known as tongue-tie, is a congenital anomaly that may severely restrict the tongue’s range of motion. It is caused by an abnormally thick, short lingual frenulum which tethers the bottom of the tongue’s tip to the floor of the mouth. Severe tongue-ties are usually discovered at birth as it interferes with normal breast-feeding.1 If not discovered at birth...

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...

Why Cancer Screening is Non-negotiable for this Dental Hygienist

Lecturers at dental conferences often share stories about the times they were able to save a patient’s life by performing a head and neck cancer screening. I have a couple of those stories myself. But the story I tell my conference attendees and my clients is not a hero story about the time I was successful at early detection. I...

Radiology Guidelines: Are Your Patients Over-Exposed?

Dental hygienists often fight against allowing health insurance companies to dictate treatment plans. They document, chart, probe, and appeal to get properly timed recall appointments covered for their patients. So, why do many offices allow the once per year insurance coverage on most dental plans to dictate the frequency of dental radiographs? The ADA, in conjunction with the FDA, recently...

Systemic Health: Lifting Science Off the Page and into Clinical Protocols

As knowledge of the oral-systemic connections has become widely understood and accepted, the next step is to lift that science off the page and integrate that knowledge into practical clinical protocols. Mainstream media and internet sources are brimming with information about the connections between the mouth and the body. As the general public becomes more aware of these links, they...

Dental Treatment Plans: When Patients Object, Listen for an Opportunity

Dental hygienists acquire years of education, skills, and training to provide the best of care for patients. Through routine clinical assessments, we know what dental patients need. However, patients do not always agree or accept treatment recommendations, leaving many patients with untreated dental care needs, unfilled schedules at offices, and loss of production opportunities. Why are patients declining your oral...

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...

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...

7 Ways to Turn Awkward Appointments into Amazing Ones

We all have that one patient (maybe more) that we see in our schedule and inwardly cringe. Or we have a new patient that makes our head spin with their bizarre behavior. How do you handle that? What do you say? Can we make this appointment go “normally?” Below are seven tips for making awkward appointments run smoothly thereby...

Systemic Health: 5 Things Dental Hygienists Should Be Talking About

For most patients, home-care tips go a long way in preventing diseases in the mouth. The physical, mechanical removal of plaque and bacteria is important to promote for oral health, and it also lays the foundation for promoting overall health. Brushing, cleaning interdentally, and rinsing are the backbone of hygiene education. If our patients implemented these three things into their...

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