“New Hat” for the RDH— Oral Systemic Health Educator & Certified Lifestyle Coach

Why would the Complete Health Registered Dental Hygiene team find themselves in inter-professional collaboration with the Certified Lifestyle Coach? The answer begins with understanding that the war raging inside of us is between chronic inflammation and the body’s own host response. We’re not aware of this war because it doesn’t hurt, and we can’t see its effects since it’s going on at a cellular, even a molecular level. The mouth happens to be a major battleground in this war. Unlike a ...
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Patient Communication is Essential for Patient Acceptance

As a dental hygienist in Minnesota, I complete a professional portfolio to maintain my license. One of the core competencies is Patient Communication. As healthcare professionals we guide patients to better health through communicating therapy needs, providing the latest education and motivating patient self-care. Salivary diagnostics allows the clinician to have an objective measurement provided by a credentialed clinical laboratory. However, before the clinician and patient can benefit fro...
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“Test – and Retest – for Clinical Success”

Periodontal disease affects over half of the population and expresses itself differently in different people. It is a highly personalized disease. It is initiated by bacteria, yeast, and viruses that live in a layer on the teeth we refer to as biofilm. It is this biofilm that stimulates a unique host response. INDIVIDUAL HOST RESPONSE Each individual’s host response is dictated by combining their genetics with their acquired risk factors. Acquired risk factors are things that they can ...
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Interview with Tonja Willey RDH, MS–Dental Hygiene Instructor

Dr McGlennen: Tell me how your students use OralDNA® salivary diagnostics. Tonja Willey RDH, MS: Our students’ select one patient with moderate to severe periodontitis for a special program called Senior Capstone project; Perio Project. The goal of this project is to have the student follow one patient from the New Patient Consultation through all the steps of therapy in hopes of improving health or finding a more stable condition. The program fee ($175) includes several types of tests in...
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Dental Hygiene Excellence: A Personalized Treatment Approach

Personalized care for dental patients is more important today than ever! Oral inflammation has been established as the driver for many systemic diseases such as cardiovascular disease, stroke, diabetes, and autoimmune diseases. Periodontal disease is one of the most prevalent inflammatory diseases and does not always respond well to “cookie cutter” treatment. We now know, treatment must target the bacteria that cause the patient’s infection, and every patient is different. Dental Hygiene Exc...
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Sick & Tired of Patients Being … Sick & Tired?

Me too! Day after day, patients dismiss their oral health, writing it off as “My gums have always bled.” Inside, my head was exploding, but outside my heart was opened. I knew that I had a chance to educate my patients to a whole new level of health. One where their energy would be boosted, risk to coronary heart disease would be lowered, and the chance of them developing diabetes would be significantly reduced. I became a hygienist on a mission. I instinctively knew that if things were t...
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Simple Strategies to Enhance Oral & Overall Health

As dental professionals, we all take the responsibility to present treatment cases to patients. Most often, the dental hygienist presents periodontal treatment plans to patients, but in reality, any team member could present this type of case. For example, if a new patient is seen on the doctor’s schedule and periodontal disease is the diagnosis, the dental assistant could have the opportunity to present the case. It is important that with any case presentation, the team is on the same page....
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A New Conversation with Your Patients

How do we introduce the idea of salivary testing to our patients? As is the approach with every dental procedure or service we recommend for our patients, the primary consideration is excellent communication. Some recommendations are routine and no explanation is necessary, including fillings and fluoride, among many others. When we introduce new procedures or services to our patients some explanation is appropriate. DNA salivary testing for bacteria is a good example. So what should we say w...
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Everyone Has A Story

Every patient that sits in your dental chair has a story. All stories have a beginning, middle, and end, as does life. We have the wonderful opportunity to help our patients be able to live a long and productive one. Jumping to the middle of my story, my mom died at the age of 58 and my dad at age 60, both from end stage vascular diseases. They didn’t get a chance to enjoy their children into their adult years, get time with their grandchildren, or even meet their great grandchildren.  I, li...
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Oral HPV Awareness Campaign: Part 2

Currently about 72% of all OPCs (Oropharyngeal Cancers) are the results of an oncogenic HPV infection—and very few of these cancers are found in the front of the mouth. HPV-Oral Pharyngeal Cancer (HPV-OPC) develops at the deep base of the tongue or behind of the curtains of the tonsillar pillars. Sadly, there is no effective screening method for early cancer detection. While we fumble with the words to say and the warnings to issue, we are literally watching the HPV epidemic unfold before...
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