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For Hygienists

Counselor's corner: Saving dental hygiene—who is responsible?
When it comes to changing the dental hygiene profession, you're more powerful than you think.
Bad health habits in dental hygiene school can mean big trouble later on
"When I was in college studying my prerequisites to get into the dental hygiene program, I became a chain-smoking, coffee-drinking, fast food junkie," says Annamarie Pamphilis. Make these changes and don't suffer the same consequences she did.
Updates on periodontal disease pathogens and the heart
A mountain of evidence demonstrates that periodontitis is a potential risk element for atherosclerosis and cardiovascular disease. But how do we educate patients about the implications of reducing bacteria and inflammation beyond the oral cavity?
Don’t troll, just scroll: Suggestions for successful social media use
As a member of several dental hygiene Facebook groups, I have been impressed with the overall supportive online environment. At the same time, I have been surprised by the negativity that sometimes arises.
Dull instruments and hand injury to the hygienist: There's a connection
Deborah McGlynn, BS, RDH, explains how using dull, poorly sharpened instruments can lead to hand injury, and demonstrates proper sharpening techniques.
Counselor's corner: The good, the bad, the rude—managing difficult patients
Have some of your patients been hitting the "jerk workshop"? These kind of behaviors can mask dental anxieties. Here's how to defuse the situation.
Is there a place for a higher power in the operatory?
Certain topics never belong in the operatory—or do they? Anne O. Rice, BS, RDH, argues that religion and spirituality can, in some cases, be successfully integrated in the dental health-care setting.
Why I’m glad I started out as a temp hygienist
Temping is a great way to establish your roots as an aspiring health-care practitioner, especially if you are a new dental hygiene graduate with minimal connections in a competitive market.
Dear new graduates: Some words of encouragement from your former clinical instructor
As you begin your life as a dental hygiene graduate, remember: you know so much more than you think. It can feel unsettling to step into a new job, But think of it this way...
Do dental hygienists do lips?
As dentistry changes, the lips are getting more attention from dental professionals. Becky Andres, RDH, takes a closer look at lip function and anatomy, common lip problems, and lip care strategies dental hygienists can recommend to patients.
Teeth, BMWs, and used Ford Fiestas
A patient presents with a mouthful of full-mouth reconstruction waiting to be done. He wants the BMW but can only afford the used Ford Fiesta. Does everyone want the BMW? Yes. Does everyone get the BMW? No. Dr. Stacey Gividen talks cars and teeth.
An unexpected thank-you
Priya's personal journey took her from India to Florida, where she discovered a career in dental hygiene. Here's the story of how she found a dental practice home—and colleagues who valued her.
Dental hygiene is more than just scaling
Are we really only as good as the last piece of calculus we removed?
Social media spotlight: Whitney DiFoggio, RDH, of Teeth Talk Girl
An interview with one of dental hygiene's most lovable YouTube stars
Massage therapy: A necessity in the hygienist’s self-care regimen
The one thing they “forgot” to mention to you in dental hygiene school, probably because you would have run for the exit, is that this profession is brutal on your body.
All things aloe
Should we recommend aloe-based products to our dental hygiene patients?
5 things that I learned when I transitioned out of the operatory
Migrating toward full-time work outside of the op took time, work, a willingness to try (and sometimes fail), and a lot of patience.
Tips for appointments with edentulous patients
The five things you should be looking for, plus other tips from a public health hygienist
'Floss every day? Really?' Part 2: Breaking the barriers
Now that you understand the barriers, here's how you break them.
Thursday Troubleshooter: Should dental hygienist take pay cut to move to office manager?
This dental hygienist has been offered a new position, but it comes with a price. After 23 years with the practice, she feels she's more valuable.
Home care products for pediatric dental care
Katie Melko, RDH, has these tips for fluoride additives, flossing with braces, and toothpastes for kids.
Why I quit my high paying clinical job and why my boss thanked me for it
I left full-time dental hygiene three years ago to pursue a career in speaking and consulting.
Skin cancer as a dental hygienist
As dental hygienists, we can use our own medical experiences to help others. Here's what I learned from a childhood in the sun and a trip to a dermatologist in my mid-thirties.
5 things I love about you, dental hygiene profession
Why this RDH chooses to continue to find joy in her career, despite its challenges
Vaping and oral health: Bringing the facts to patients
More research is demonstrating its harmful effects on the oral cavity.
Customizing home-care aids: One size does not fit all
Brushing and flossing alone are no longer considered the gold standard in home care. Jamie Collins, RDH, gives her favorite go-to aids to help patients improve and maintain their oral and systemic health.
Professional socialization: What it is and why you need it
In order to take dental hygiene practice one step forward, it is up to hygienists to learn from each other.
Focusing on our vision
As dental hygienists, here's how we can take care of our eyes—both inside and outside the office
How dental professionals can help patients with xerostomia
Xerostomia affects up to 65% of our patients, but many don't mention their dry mouth because they accept it as a part of life. Learn how you can help.
Injured or sick? What to consider before going to work
Even a swollen finger or a small cut on your hand can impair your clinical skills—and leave you vulnerable to a difficult-to-treat infection.
The role of dental endoscopes in laser periodontal therapy
Nicole Fortune, MBA, RDH, compares the results of laser periodontal therapy using the LANAP protocol as performed with and without debridement using an endoscope.
My journey to wellness
Melissa Kjos-Peterson shares her journey from dental hygienist to wellness coach.
3 key action items to increase patient compliance
These three beautifully simple strategies can be implemented with your very next patient.
The dental hygienist's role in access to care
Access to care is an ongoing issue worldwide, and it is something you as a dental hygienist or dental hygiene student can improve in big and small ways.
To balance motherhood and dental hygiene, make a plan
Latoya Blandin, RDH, a mother of two young children, shares how she survives (and thrives) as a working mom.
Dr. Jason H. Goodchild discusses why dental hygienists need the most appropriate tools to not only provide care, but also to maintain their own health while delivering it. For more, see his article.
A practical guide for testing dental unit waterlines: Part 3
Dental infection control expert Noel Kelsch, MS, RDHAP, goes through what you should do when your dental unit waterlines fail testing.
Tailoring appointments: Treating patients who need special accommodations
As clinicians, we have all experienced those patients who say, “I can’t lean back all the way,”
Hidden fluoride in tea and other foods and beverages
Can certain tea preparations be hiding potentially toxic levels of fluoride? You may want to warn your patients with heavy tea habits to consider their overall exposure.
Why I’m happy I came back to dental hygiene
In leaving dental hygiene, Rose Vrabel discovered it was the perfect profession for her.
4 Common Mistakes Dental Hygienists Make
In my experience as clinical and business consultant, I often see similar issues in dental offices around the country. These issues often negatively impact patient care as well as our own mental health.
Rethinking the conversation around older patients
My life is rapidly changing, and I know that I have created this change. I am becoming busier in my professional life, so it's harder to find the time to write.
The theme for this month’s issue of RDH is rethinking the dental hygiene appointment. Traditionally, this block of time has been viewed by many as “just a cleaning.”
Be a harried hygienist no more
Anna Middleton explores the need for dental hygienists and therapists feeling out of sorts to look at their motivating factors
The neglected duty
I recently conducted an unscientific “study”—and by study, I mean I asked 20 healthy people the following questions: “During your last dental visit did anyone mention to you how to clean their tongue?
Laser therapy: Is it for you?
Lasers can be highly beneficial for dental patients undergoing periodontal therapy. But if you're a dental hygienist and unfamiliar with lasers, where do you start?
The 100-year evolution of the science and practice of dental hygiene
Dental hygiene is still a relatively young health profession, just over 100 years old.
Patient education technologies for dental hygienists
Do you want to improve your patient engagement and education? Is your case acceptance rate lower than you would like? Do you have patients who say yes to treatment . . .
Why this direct access hygienist is pressing pause
I’ve recently spent much of my time considering whether or not to continue providing dental care at a local nursing facility. If you recall from my last article, I faced a situation that potentially could have resulted in a major liability concern.
3 things dental hygienists need to know about medical marijuana and CBD oil
Remember the days of everyone from hippie protesters to Sean Paul calling for the government to just "legalize it, already"?
8 steps for documenting oral lesions
As dental hygienists, we play crucial roles in detecting oral cancer. Some of us are probably seeing patients right now who need our help. How can we do this? The first step is providing thorough oral lesion inspections.
Thursday Troubleshooter: Dental professional horrified at lack of infection control practices
I believe that with my oath to become a dental professional I agreed to protect the safety of my patients and community. My former employer’s infection control practices violated my ethical code, and to my knowledge, safety regulations also.
6 qualities a dentist looks for in a dental hygienist
As you delve into the process of finding the practice that will allow you to shine and be your best selves, an attribute to the team. Here are qualities that will allow you to be successful on your professional journey.
Raise the standards for yourself to keep your passion for hygiene
Compromise is a normal part in any relationship. If you go through your career bailing any time someone doesn’t agree with you, you will more than likely be looking at a lot of job movement and dissatisfaction in your career.
3 apps to achieve a healthier you in 2019
As most of us chose the hygiene field to help others, we are often the “doers.” We dental hygienists are the reliable people that others can depend on to show up in their times of need.
Tailoring dental appointments for patients with xerostomia
Xerostomia, or "dry mouth", is becoming more prevalent with our patients. This is primarily due to the rise in medications being prescribed across the general population.
The impact of professional socialization and entrepreneurship on a community’s oral health
Although there have been many updates to the roles of dental hygienists, one of the latest includes entrepreneur. It's no surprise, then, that "entrepreneurs" is the perfect word to describe the cofounders of Dignity Dental Hygiene.
Tailoring periodontal maintenance appointments
Post–scaling and root planing (SRP) patients are always great visits. This is the time for you as a clinician to see how well your work paid off and how well patients are complying.
Imagination fueling innovation: The new Waterpik Sonic-Fusion
The pathway to create the Sonic Fusion started over a decade ago when Water Pik’s American scientists and engineers came up with the idea of a unique hybrid unit, a power toothbrush /water flosser.
Help! Why does my hygiene schedule have so many holes?
Industry standards and experience tell us that there are more failed appointments in the hygiene column than in the doctor’s column. Open chair time is costly to a dental practice and in turn could also affect the hygienist’s compensation.
Considering a career change to office management? Take note of this professional organization
According to the ADHA, there are a number of professional roles of the dental hygienist—clinician, public health, corporate, researcher, educator, entrepreneur, and administrator.
Dental Hygiene Handpieces
Dental hygiene handpieces are a key part of the prophy appointment. These hygienist handpieces are designed to provide a smooth and comfortable polishing of the patient's teeth.
A direct access hygienist asks herself: Is this working?
How do you know when it is time to let something go? Is there a specific amount of money, time, and effort that need to be spent before one can measure a success or failure?
Hygiene production as percentage of total production
Do you know how much your practice depends on your work? Imagine working in a dental practice and not knowing the practice fees.
Professor perspective: An interview with Marianne Dryer, MEd, RDH
We all know that professors of dental hygiene possess a wealth of information. But what you might not know is how much professors can help in making sense of our journeys following graduation.
Mouth rinse mania: How hygienists can reconcile concerns over alcohol rinses
As a health-care professional, it can be hard to distinguish between what is right and what is wrong. What do we recommend and why? A balancing act at best.
Dental hygienists and musculoskeletal disorders
Ironically, there is a high prevalence of a preventable disorders among the dental hygiene profession. 92% of practicing dental hygienists have previously experienced musculoskeletal pain related to the practice of dental hygiene.
Thursday Troubleshooter: Dental hygienist tired of rude patients who don’t give her a chance
What do I say to patients? Can you offer any encouragement to ease my stress? It's frustrating to be ignored and shut down before I even get a chance.
Don't say it - the word dental hygienist recruiters hear every day
As a dental hygiene recruiter, nearly all the candidates whom I interview tell me they are "team players" and "want to work with a strong team." The word "team" has been so overused to describe a practice’s staff that it's lost any useful meaning.
How dental hygienists can work with 'difficult' patients
Some patients make you tense up in anticipation for a visit that will feel less than enjoyable for you both. Those relationships seem anything but natural and easy.
How to travel the country as a dental hygienist
Dentistry has changed a great deal in the past 30 years—and so have dental hygienists.
Should pregnancy be a risk factor for caries? Salivary pH and pregnancy
When I was a child, my mother would tell me stories of how she had such bad teeth that she would even lose one or two after every pregnancy.
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Introducing OrthoEd Mini Masters, the most in-depth and trusted Orthodontic course for Dentists in Australia today