Drug Addiction: The Importance of Patient Disclosure before Dental Treatment

Working for a Federal Qualified Health Center (FQHC) is rewarding, yet the variety of patients I serve can sometimes be overwhelming and stressful. Patients I see regularly range from drug and alcohol addicts, special needs, juvenile delinquents, patients who are starting over after being in prison, AIDS/HIV, and more. Each patient is unique and has a set of health...

Botox Isn’t Just for Wrinkles Anymore: A Hygienist’s Experience with TMJ Treatment

Do you clench or grind your teeth? Wake up with headaches or stiff, tight muscles in your face? So many people are affected by the daily stress of life which can lead to clenching and grinding. Improper occlusion or airway issues can lead to bruxism and TMJ issues. Too much caffeine or too much gum chewing can lead to...

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...

A Simple “Look” by a Dental Hygienist Could Save a Life

As dental professionals, we are super busy; sometimes running behind, yet, trying to be as thorough as we can, while giving the best care possible to our patients. As part of our exam, we should do a once-over, looking at the patient's skin of their head and neck, as we start to do the oral cancer screening. While this...

True Confession of a Less Than Ideal Bitewing

What’s your hygiene moment when you realize you have had an epic fail? Hopefully, none of you will ever have that experience, but I did, and I am on a mission to never let it happen again. Here’s the scenario, the patient presents for routine care. It’s a great appointment - everything status quo; health history reviewed, oral cancer...

A Dental Hygienist’s Role in Early Childhood Caries Prevention

Early childhood caries (ECC) is one of the most common chronic childhood diseases, and possibly the most preventable. The American Academy of Pediatric Dentistry (AAPD) defines ECC as a significant chronic disease resulting from an imbalance of multiple risk and protective factors over time1. In the United States, 3-6% of children under the age of 6 are affected by...

Meeting the Dental Hygiene Needs of Geriatric Patients

According to the United States Census Bureau, by the year 2030, every baby boomer in the United States will be over the age of 651. Why is that fact important to us as Dental Hygienists? It is extremely significant, considering a ballooning geriatric population, 78 million by the year 2035 to be exact, will make up a significant portion...

How to Talk to Patients About Removal of Amalgam Restorations

Many dental offices, including the one I practice in today, are now mercury-free. Most of our patients are up-to-date with the research that mercury is a neurotoxin and, at certain levels, can cause neurological issues, autoimmune disease, chronic illnesses, and mental disorders. We now have sufficient evidence-based research to acknowledge mercury restorations are not the ideal option they once...

To Upsell or Not, That is The Question

I have been a practicing Registered Dental Hygienist since 1987.  I cannot believe the math, but yes, 31 years! I have witnessed a lot of change over those decades. From optional ultrasonic usage for the extreme calculus “difficult prophy” cases versus daily ultrasonic/piezo usage as a standard of care, fluoride trays instead of fluoride varnish application, monster-sized clinical chairs...

Hygienist Confession: Yeah, I Leave Stain. Here’s Why.

I am a “self-proclaimed” perfectionist. I need to know I am doing the best job I can while striving to do it better. Sound familiar? A little like most hygienists you know? If you had asked me ten years ago that I would knowingly leave stain on people’s teeth, I would have laughed. Knowing this may have caused me to...

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