Understanding Why Dental Patients Can be Non-Compliant

Providing dental hygiene care can be one of the most rewarding jobs in health care. When patients find a good hygienist, they tend to stick with them and even begin to look forward to their biannual cleanings. As a dental hygienist, you form close bonds with many patients, and you feel like part of the family. Sometimes, however, being a...

The Top 5 Lies that Google Teaches Your Dental Patients

"If it's on the internet, it must be true." This phrase has jokingly been thrown around probably since the invention of the internet. This modern convenience has allowed so much information to be accessed and easily disseminated; however, it is important to fact-check online content. Unfortunately for dental workers (and health care in general), a quick Google search often...

Not Just Another Set of Teeth: Building Patient Rapport

Building rapport is a term often used in a dental office. It can refer to relationships between other offices, coworkers, or most importantly our patients. To put it simply, rapport is a way of saying two people understand each other and the lines of communication are open.  When it comes to building patient rapport there will never be a...

Periodontal Diagnosis: How to Maintain Positive Control of the Appointment

As dental hygienists we’ve all been there, treating a new patient with a periodontal diagnosis.  How do we turn an appointment around after we diagnose a new patient who has been seen by the same dentist regularly for years yet has never heard of periodontal disease?  It’s an everyday struggle for a dental hygienist to gain control of the...

What Hygienists Need to Consider when Treating Patients with Malocclusion

Malocclusion is defined as “irregular contact of opposing teeth in the upper and lower jaws.”1 Most people with minimal knowledge of dentistry view it as an esthetic problem and not an oral health problem. Not only are there oral health implications, but general health can be affected too. It is estimated that about 65% of the U.S. population has...

How to Recognize the Most Common Complications of Dental Implants

According to the American Academy of Implant Dentistry, 500,000 dental implants are placed in the United States annually.1 As dental hygienists, the number of patients we treat who have at least one dental implant will increase. For this reason, it is important for dental hygienists to become familiar with dental implants from both restorative and preventive aspects. We need to...

The Importance of Knowing a Patient’s Health History (And How to Simplify the Process)

At my current office, I am probably considered a health history nag, but I am okay with that! I would prefer to be known for this because patients are then actively involved in their dental care when they participate in updating their health history at EVERY appointment. When hygienists involve patients this way, we are able to educate patients...

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...

Be an “Eagle-Eye” – The Importance of Hygienist, Doctor, and Patient Co-diagnosing

My employer often calls me “Eagle Eye” because he knows and appreciates my skills as a hygienist. Having a heightened sense of the oral condition of each patient sets up for a great handoff during the doctor’s examination. It is essential to go above and beyond routine care to assist in co-diagnosing with the doctor and patient for a...

How Small Gestures Can Help with Apprehensive Patients

We have all had that patient, the one that is terrified of being at the dentist. They look terrified from the moment you call their name and ask them to head to the back. These overwhelmed patients, in all their fear, don’t realize how their stress can affect you, as a clinician. How do you handle them? These patients...

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