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Showing posts from 2014

Old Mops & Toothbrushes?

If you ask someone when's the last time they changed their toothbrush and they say, "ummm"? It's been too long. Well, there you have it folks! One of the many tidbits of conventional wisdom heard within dental practice. It's hardly the likes of Plato, but rings true just the same. Throughout the day to day hustle and bustle, it's easy to forget such little things. So, as dental assistants and hygienists we periodically remind or ask patients this question. The American Dental Association (ADA) recommends replacing our toothbrush every 3 to 4 months, sooner if the bristles have become frayed, and immediately after overcoming a cold, flu, oral infection, or sore throat.  According to Colgate: Oral Health & Resource Center, "studies have shown that after 3 months of normal wear and tear, toothbrushes are much less effective at removing plaque." Toothbrush bristles wear down over time, and unable to reach into the nooks and crevices around our teet…

How to Save A Knocked Out Tooth

T.K.O.  Sometimes means tooth knock out! Oral injuries are common during sports activities. A properly fitted mouth guard significantly reduces the risk of oral trauma, but accidents can still occur -- such as an "avulsed" tooth. An avulsed tooth is one that has been knocked out of the socket. If this occurs it is important to get to the dentist as quickly as possible. The odds of saving a tooth are highest in young children, but adult teeth can be saved as well. Only permanent teeth should be re-implanted. It is also important to avoid damaging the tooth even more. Rinse the tooth off with water or milk, and keep the tooth moist! A tooth that has been knocked out starts to die within 15 minutes. To preserve the tooth until you're able to reach the dentist; put the the tooth in milk or carefully place it back into the socket and hold it in your mouth. Either method will help the tooth survive longer.

NO Laughing Gas Required

Progressive Dentistry: It's Alive!

Maybe I'm a bit weird but I enjoy dental hygiene visits. It's relaxing, afterwards my teeth feel like polished pearls, and I get to indulge in "shop talk" with the hygienist -- who's more than happy to share what she's learned from dental conferences attended between our appointments. Of course, she does most of the talking as there's an ultrasonic scaler and saliva ejector down my throat, but I'm all ears!  She recently returned from a dental conference in Tampa, FL where they discussed a procedure involving laser treatment to significantly combat gum disease. She said, the procedure is used in conjunction with SRP. Pardon if this is a gross simplification, but basically the laser is able to reach areas far under the gingival tissue and remove infection, as well as promote faster healing and gum tissue regeneration (which brings me to my next point). While listening intently, I immediately thought of tweet I saw last week that went something like, &qu…


This Mother's Day, I made it official. I walked proudly across the graduation stage and accepted my Certificate in Dental Assisting. For some this may be a drop in the bucket... but I know drops make oceans, oceans make waves. For the past two years I've done nothing but eat, sleep, and breathe dentistry. Aside from writing, this experience is unlike anything I'd ever strived for in the past. Therefore, my interest has gained instead of waned. In so far it has turned into passion, and that passion has turned into an undeniable purpose. Since embarking upon a career in the dental industry, I've met many talented, unique, and dedicated individuals -- from my instructors and classmates, to fellow dental professionals and volunteers -- who've done nothing but mentor, support, and encourage my dreams in one way or another.  I've witnessed and heard amazing stories of triumph, while meeting patients who've inspired me all the same. 
To God be the glory.

Progressive Dentistry: Does Cannabis Smoking Cause Oral Cancer?

In a recent DentistryIQ article, Dr. Iman Sadri explains that in the wake of state-by-state marijuana legalization and health care/drug reform policies, many in the health care community are concerned medical and recreational use of cannabis poses a real health threat...

So, does marijuana use cause oral cancer development? To put it blatantly, the answer is no. According to, "cannabis smoke - unlike tobacco smoke - has not been definitively linked to cancer in humans. Marijuana smoke does contain many of the same carcinogens as tobacco smoke. Ironically, those carcinogens are not cancer causing. In fact, cannabis also contains cannabinoids, such as THC, which contain anticancer properties, including the slowing of inflammatory aspects of the immune system that slow the growth of  free-radicals (unstable atoms which lead to cancer progression)."
Personally, I do not believe Dr. Sadri conveyed this research as a pass for patients or anyone else to go out and get stone…

We All Have A Story...

"This above all: to thine own self be true, and it must follow, as the night the day, thou canst not then be false to any man." ~William Shakespeare It was the fall of 2012, I found the courage to tell my story.  I knew the day would come where I would have to either face my fears, or be ruled by them. If I am to be true to myself and others, I had to become transparent. That meant letting go of my fears, and humbling myself under the sight of God and others.  After years of low self-esteem, I'd finally arrived at a place of self love and acceptance. Being able to show and tell the world, "This is me, take it or leave it". Being okay with either reaction is true freedom.
During the first semester of my dental assisting program, the instructors asked us to share our story. At the end of class, a former classmate came to me and said after hearing my dental experience, she was reminded of another.  And referred to a book she'd read entitled, The Covered Smile(…

Honorary Mention

Proud moment here...
Yet, this is much more than receiving a shiny tassel and something to look good on resumes.  It's an investment! Many dental assistants and dental hygienists attend two-year colleges to obtain their degrees, or go on to transfer those degrees to four-year institutions. It's no secret that dental/hygiene school is crazy expensive. And honestly I need all the help I can get. If you're anything like me and want to further your career but don't have 100k lying about...joining an honor society is a great way of not only getting noticed by prospective institutions, but obtaining scholarships that will help fund some, if not all of your education costs. Specifically, Phi Theta Kappa (ΦΘΚ)is a national honor society that recognizes and supports the academic achievement of two-year college students. To learn more visit their website at

Effects of Poor Dental Hygiene on Your Body

Dry Socket? Grab a Tea Bag

Alveolar osteitis, commonly known as "dry socket" is the most common complication patients experience after tooth extraction(s), particularly wisdom teeth.  Normally, after an extraction blood clots will form in and around the hole to protect the tissue, bone, and nerves during the healing process. However, a dry socket occurs when a sufficient blood clot fails to form (due to various reasons) in and around the extraction site; thus leaving the hole open and exposed. According to WebMD, only "2% to 5% of people develop dry socket after an extraction." 
Symptoms include increasing pain 2-3 days after the extraction, halitosis (bad breath), and a lingering bad taste in the mouth. If you haven't already, immediately call your dentist or oral surgeon to report your symptoms and schedule an emergency visit. Remember, do not touch or poke the extraction site with your fingers or tongue. In the meantime, you can use the following home remedies to help reduce pain and …

Healing & Home Care After Tooth Extraction

Within our lifetime most of us have, or will, experience one or more tooth extraction(s). Extractions are not always due to tooth decay or an unhealthy mouth. Often, dentists and oral surgeons extract one or more teeth (e.g., "wisdom teeth) to treat crowding, and/or if necessary for the proper placement of braces into a patient's mouth.  After extraction a blood clot begins to form which covers and protects the extraction site. Meanwhile, it will take 3-4 weeks for your gum tissue to heal completely, and anywhere from 3-6 months for bone. However, the pain should subside within 48 hours.
In general, most extractions are routine, short-term dental procedures. However, all extractions require proper home care for optimal healing. Immediately after your procedure, the dental assistant will give you postoperative directions, answer any questions you may have, and guide you through each step. As a dental assistant, it is our job to make sure you are well-informed, and comfortable b…