Dental Hygienists Can Be Productive and Still Be Ethical

Ah, the word “production.” About half of the hygienists reading this are already annoyed, simply at the mention of the word. The other half are intimately familiar, often paid based on their numbers, knowing down to the dollar how much they typically produce per hour. Production is possibly the most misinterpreted word in the entire field of dentistry. For some,...

Understanding Behavioral Theories Leads to Better Oral Health Education

Learning the theoretical frameworks of health promotion and disease prevention is an extremely important and useful tool for dental hygienists providing patient education. For health educators to deliver useful interventions to the public, we first need to be aware of the theories involved to understand how our population relates to behavior changes. According to an article by the National Institutes...

How to Discuss Periodontal Disease & Lung/Colon Cancer with Patients

When patients usually think of cancer in a dental setting, the initial thought is oral cancer. As a hygienist, I incorporate an intraoral cancer screening on every patient, examining the tissues of the oral cavity and looking for anything abnormal. Occasionally, a patient will comment, “Doesn’t oral cancer only happen when you use tobacco?” This is an opportunity to...

Be Prepared to Provide Dental Hygiene Care for Pregnant Patients

Pregnancy changes the whole body and the changes range from psychological-emotional swings to the more obvious physical changes. The mouth is not an exception to the many changes in the body. Several conditions may appear during pregnancy, including pregnancy gingivitis, to even the beginning signs of postpartum depression.1 Poor oral health during pregnancy may lead to poor health for the...

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...

Xerostomia and Periodontal Disease: How to Customize Your Treatment Approaches

Xerostomia can be described as a “subjective sensation of oral dryness”1 with numerous causes. The most common are as a side effect from certain medications, Sjogren’s syndrome and other autoimmune disorders, and radiation therapy.1 Older patients are generally taking more medications, and so we tend to see xerostomia in this population more frequently than any other. However, anyone taking medications...

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...

Why Hygienists Should Take the Blood Pressure of EVERY Patient

Let me ask you a question: how many of you take blood pressure readings on your patients before beginning treatment? For those of you who take blood pressure readings on your patients, bravo to you! You have my respect; you may now skip the rest of this article, pass Go, and collect $200. But for those of you who...

Active Reflective Listening: Improving Communication Between Dental Patients and Staff

Have you ever wondered if anyone is actually listening? Do you feel like there is a breakdown of communication somewhere, and this is inhibiting your ability to get your message across to patients, staff members, and maybe even friends and family? I have been there, both as a clinician and a patient, as well as a family member and friend....

New Parents: Five Tips Dental Hygienists Should Be Sharing

Being a first-time parent of an infant can be so overwhelming. Parents are faced with sleepless nights, unorthodox feeding schedules, consecutive diaper changes, colic, spit-up, and everything else that comes with the new parent territory. The health of a child’s teeth can get lost among the many parental responsibilities. Dental hygienists can play a huge role in helping new...

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