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...

What Hygienists Need to Know About Saliva, Xylitol, and Xerostomia

Article sponsored by OraCoat. Unless a person suffers from xerostomia (dry mouth), most people don’t give a second thought to saliva. That is until they are seated in the dental chair and find themselves drowning in it or are suddenly unable to swallow. All joking aside, saliva plays a crucial role in oral health. It aides in teeth remineralization, clears...

4 Tips to Using Dental Lasers in the Hygiene Operatory

Does your state allow hygienists to use laser as an adjunct to dental treatment? If yes, are you laser certified? If you have access to a laser, look up a class, and get certified! Not only is learning something new super fun, but the laser is also beneficial and straightforward to use. For many, lasers seem daunting and slightly scary,...

Patient Relationships: Empathy Fosters Trust and Treatment Acceptance

Empathy: A quality of interpersonal effectiveness that involves sharing others’ feelings; an ability to feel or perceive things from others’ points of view.1 Given the information that empathetic physicians have greater patient satisfaction,2 this article explores the benefits from the display of empathy by dental practitioners. The practice of thinking and feeling empathy affects provider/patient relationships. An empathetic practitioner can...

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...

Prenatal Care: Dentistry’s Involvement throughout Pregnancy

The oral-systemic link in health care is being discussed more than ever. Our mouths are the opening to our entire body, and inflammation in the oral cavity can lead to inflammation throughout the body, including during pregnancy. Many lifelong habits are created during pregnancy, and oral care should be one of them. From 2007 through 2009, approximately 56% of pregnant...

How to Ensure Patients Actually Use Recommended Oral Health Devices

Many dental hygienists probably give unsolicited advice to random strangers in the oral health aisle of the local superstore. Yes, you know who you are! Why give advice to only random strangers, though? You should be encouraging your own patients to purchase the devices, get them out of the box, and plug them in! Recently, I was having a conversation...

A Dental Hygienist’s Refresher on Tuberculosis

One of the most important aspects of an appointment is reviewing health histories with patients.  Every dental hygienist has experienced that moment, where one checked box sends our minds searching for the right questions to determine if it is safe to proceed with treatment for both the patient and ourselves. Tuberculosis tends to be one of those recurring conversation topics...

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...

Pediatric Prophylaxis: Helpful Hints for Dental Appointments with Children

An emphasis on the importance of dental health has increased the number of children seeking dental visits. A study conducted in 2014 reported that 64.6% of children under the age of 18 visited their dentist every six months.1 This statistic increased to 84.6% in another study conducted in 2017.2 Implementing a successful pediatric visit will often encourage children and their...

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