Medical Updates: Dig To Find What the Dental Patient Isn’t Saying

When asking patients about their medical health updates, it’s crucial to listen for the answers and probe for greater depth of response. We all have dental patients who casually report no changes. It is best to read the medications from the previous history and ask about each medication. Validate the accuracy of each medication and any potential new prescriptions,...

Psychoneuroimmunology: Insights Can Lead to a Better Understanding of Dental Patients

Established research demonstrates a connection between the mind and the body. Within medicine, the mind and the body connection is not fully accepted by all, but much of its evidence is respected and considered in many aspects. The contributions of many intellectual and innovative researchers have proved evidence of the connection between the two. The mind and the body connection...

Why Early Orthodontic Treatment May Be a Mistake and Not Necessary

Editor's Note: This article is one person's experience and is anecdotal. It should not be taken as orthodontic advice. Please consult an orthodontist for treatment needs based on individual circumstances. As a dental hygienist, we are often the first to see a child and recognize that the patient may have an orthodontic problem. Assessment at a young age can indicate...

A Refresher to Caries Risk Management Strategies

Dental caries is defined as a “biofilm-mediated, sugar-driven, multifactorial, dynamic disease that results in the phasic demineralization and remineralization of dental hard tissues.”1 It is a progressive and chronic process enabled by the continuous provision of a sugar source, often combined with substandard oral hygiene habits, as well as other factors such as the mineral composition of the saliva...

The RDH Dental Detective: Questions to Discover Childhood Sleep Disordered Breathing

As our understanding of the multiple links between the mouth and the body has increased, our roles have expanded to include care of the patient’s whole health. One aspect of whole health care that can have an enormous life-changing and life-saving effect is to screen for sleep-disordered breathing. By discovering disordered sleep breathing, the dental professional can make a difference...

Mental Nerve Block: A Welcomed Alternative in Mandibular Anesthesia

Effective anesthesia does not have to be a source of anxiety for patients or practitioners. Most of us dread the mandibular inferior alveolar nerve block (MIANB) and will try anything to avoid giving this injection. I am one of those practitioners who have explored other options to achieve pain-free anesthesia and pain-free periodontal treatment. When I was learning to give...

Cannabis Legalization Changes How Dental Practices Should Operate

The private act of cannabis use, in all of its forms, is becoming not-so-private with our patients in clinical practice. As we rang in the 2018 New Year, California officially became one among the thirty states to legalize the recreational and medicinal use of marijuana. Since January 1st, it has not taken long for citizens to begin exercising their...

The Safest Dental Appointment Begins with an Updated Medical History

"Why do I need to fill out another medical form when everything is still the same?" This is a common question dental practices deal with on a regular basis with many patients. While it may seem like an inconvenience to update a medical history, it is imperative to make sure each patient has given you all of their past...

A Practical Look at Silver Diamine Fluoride

silver diamine fluoride
As a practicing dental hygienist, I know every day I will fail to perfectly communicate the importance of diligent daily oral health care to a patient. I would like to believe that every single instance where a patient presents with gingivitis or incipient decay, I would be able to impress upon them the need to clean interdentally once, brush...

Radiation Protection: Ensuring Low Risks with Dental Exposures

Substantial evidence demonstrates a significant increase in the use of medical imaging. Computerized tomography and ionizing radiation imaging have improved medicine and dentistry in many ways. The ability to use digital imaging has eliminated many invasive exploratory procedures. Medical professionals can more easily diagnose many conditions and diseases. A statement by the U.S. Food & Drug Administration (FDA) declared, “The...

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