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...

Dental Education Should Be the Goal through All Stages of Pregnancy

Many factors are at play in a woman’s body during pregnancy, and the oral cavity has an important role in the health of the mother as well as for the developing baby. All healthcare providers serve a role in the education of the expecting mother. The dental team should be knowledgeable, as well as comfortable, in educating a patient...

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...

Dental Compliance: Helping Patients Comply Using the Stages of Change Model

Many healthy behavior models and theories are available, but the Stages of Change Model, also known as the Transtheoretical Model (TTM), is one that clearly breaks down where a dental patient is in their readiness to change behavior. Part of the Stages of Change model involves assessing someone (in this case, your dental patients). Individual awareness and decision making are...

Treating Bilingual Patients in Dental and Healthcare Settings

Personally, growing up bilingual and attending school in educational spaces that emphasized English-only curriculum was challenging. Language is more than just a group of words necessary to express one’s thoughts and feelings. Language is the essence of one’s personal identity, the very fabric that makes each of us who we are. I have spent many years researching language and...

Bridging the Gap Between Medical and Dental Health of Our Diabetic Patients

The bridge between medical and dental health is a hot topic and one we as dental hygienists cannot ignore! A lot is being done to try to build this bridge and shorten this gap, particularly with one of the most well-known and direct oral-systemic connections – diabetes and oral health. Our hygiene profession and the care we provide our...

The Great Fluoride Debate: Patients Who Refuse Fluoride

Note: This is Part 4 of Debbi Viger’s series, Special Needs: Everyone Has Special Needs. Read Part 1 here, Part 2 here, and Part 3 here. Every patient who sits in our chair has preconceived notions of what is right and what is wrong. Some patients feel that chemicals are evil, toothpaste is potentially life-threatening, and a fluoride treatment is not...

4 Tips to Help Achieve Patient Compliance

We hear about seemingly difficult patients quite often. “My patient was so difficult.” “I can’t believe my patient would possibly tell me he is OK with such poor oral health!” We may even be guilty of making some of the preceding complaints. As clinicians, the care we provide is reliant on the amount of success we can achieve in gaining...

Finding Compassion With the Most Difficult Dental Patients

We can all think of that patient. You know, the patient you see in your schedule that makes you question whether the sudden onset of flu is approaching. When you see that name, all of the agony you know that upcoming appointment holds for you flashes through your mind, as you break into a cold sweat and your hands...

Oral Implications of Frequent Marijuana Use

In the United States, the use of marijuana has almost doubled since 2013, going from 7% to 13% of adult Americans using marijuana regularly, either recreationally or medically.1 Although the use of the drug is still federally banned, many states have limited legal restrictions to the drug, allowing people to gain easier access to various forms of marijuana for...

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