The Advancement In Modern Dental Hygiene Operations

The gaming industry is probably one of the most progressive industries when it comes to new technology. Perhaps most people are into games and gadgetry that some technological advancement in other fields of industry is overlooked. But the good thing is that the medical field has not been overlooked and the dental hygiene operatory has seen a lot of improvements over the decade. These technological advancements in dental equipment and operations have maximized diagnostics and enhanced preventive processes to maintain good oral hygiene.

Dental procedures have now become more convenient since dental hygienists are provided with effective and efficient new tools of the trade. The optimization of diagnostic tools such as digital radiography, oral cancer screening tools, and intra-oral cameras have made dental procedures easier. The results are quicker and patients do not have to wait for several hours to know the next step.

Here is a comparative view of how dental procedures were done before and how it is done now:

1) Digital radiography – The conventional method involved as higher risk due to the use of radiation and chemicals. Today’s new technology still involves radiation and the use of chemicals but to a minimized level yet with quicker and clearer assessment of the problem.

2) Intra-oral cameras – In the past, dentists just rely on what they can see and most of the times neglect areas in the mouth that are too remote for visibility. Now that intra-oral cameras are available, it has become a great tool for documentation and the best resource for dental education for both patients and dentistry students.

3) Caries (tooth decay) diagnostic and detection tools – The old method used quantitative light fluorescence while today’s tools use laser technology which is less invasive.

4) Quick teeth whitening procedures and remineralization therapies – Teeth whitening was not popular nor was it offered as in dental clinics. Dental hygienists can now offer teeth whitening and remineralization of the teeth using fluoride, calcium, and phosphate. These procedures are also additional revenue for dental hygienists.

5) Dental chair system – If cars are equipped with GPS, then modern dental chairs include flat screen monitors, ergonomic chair design, and computer aided charting technologies. There are several other additions to the dental chair system which even verge on wireless solutions.

6) Dental surgical loupes – Dentists can now see with greater clarity due to magnification for precise diagnosis. They can even customize the frame, colors, and lens placement of their dental loupes.

These are just a few of the advancement in dental procedures today. We may not know what else could be available in a few months. Yet for sure computer-aided procedures will stay and integration of comfort is fast becoming the next big thing in dentistry. Who would not prefer a spa-like dental clinic anyway?

Keep Your Teeth – Dental Chair Anxiety Can Be Eliminated

I don’t know anybody thrilled about getting dental work done. Many of us find any reason we can to postpone our dental checkups and dental needs. For those who get sweaty palms just thinking about the dentist, a severe toothache or dental emergency may be the catapulting event that gets you into the dentist’s chair. If you have been avoiding the dentist for years, or each visit is just an ordeal, what can you do to reduce your dental fears?

Some of us remember watching comedy skits on TV depicting a very old almost blind dentist pulling out a tooth with a pair of pliers–while the patient is mumbling “you got the wrong tooth.” Although these scenes were funny, some of us have that crazy image still implanted into our brain. Reality is that modern dentistry has made leaps and bounds in technology and in accommodating the patient. Some of the stress-reducing things patients can now find in many offices are:

* upbeat music (not elevator-style music)
* television screen that allows you to watch TV with your choice of programming
* computerized revolving slides of scenic pictures such as water, mountains, etc.
* sunglasses, supplied by dentist, to protect your eyes from the procedural light
* nitrous oxide/oxygen (check with your dentist; this is a mild sedative given to very anxious patients)
* detailed communication between doctor and patient about procedures and technique

The above items are fine and dandy once you’re actually sitting in the dentist’s chair. What can you personally do though to reduce your anxiety before the appointment? Here are some things I have done to help me keep my dental appointments:

1. Pick an appointment (unless it is an emergency) for that part of the day in which you are the most relaxed. For me it is the morning.

2. When making your appointment communicate with the dental office that you are anxious. Dentists want and need to know your level of anxiety. They will discuss the ways in which they address the various stress levels with their patients.

3. Get a good night’s rest. Not enough sleep may cause you to be irritable. Being irritable will increase your anxiety level.

4. Listen to relaxing music on the way to the dentist. I play a CD with spa-like melodies. It really helps.

5. Don’t arrive too early at the dentist office. Too much time might result in your mentally kicking around your already unfounded fears. Be prompt and not late.

6. Spray natural essences of flowers, Bach Rescue Remedy Spray, into your mouth to reduce anxiety. Do this on your way to the dentist and just before the dentist starts your procedure. This was the number one reason I got through my recent root canal procedure.

7. Use your earphones with your own iPod during the procedure (if the dentist will permit it).

8. Bring your own sunglasses to wear if the dentist does not supply a pair.

9. Pray for courage and ability to relax (if you are a spiritual person).

10. For final clarity, ask the dentist what is going to be done and the length of time involved; agree on the use of hand signals should you need to alert the dentist to stop.

In combination the tips above will help reduce your dental fear. However, my favorite tip is the Bach Rescue Remedy Spray. It calmed me down long enough to sit through an entire root canal procedure. For me-that was an accomplishment. You don’t need to cancel your next deep cleaning, that root canal you have been putting off, or the chipped tooth that needs repaired. So go ahead and make your next dental appointment anxiety-free, and say goodbye to the tooth fairy forever.

Allowing Intuition to Lead in the Dental Chair

‘Not all those who wander are lost!’

Maybe this should read: Not all those who wonder are lost!

How many times has a patient presented with, not only a dental concern, but other concerns like; why more xrays, how fast does the anesthesia wear off, are the filling materials safe, or do I really need a fluoride treatment? What’s even more challenging are the questions that often come up after the first one is addressed! It’s enough to make you wonder, why all of your patients can’t be more like Mr and Mrs ABC; compliant, cooperative, relaxed and so easy to work on?

So I ask you, are you lost or really wanting to understand the people you get to work with? My guess is you’re looking to empathize; and the reason why this article came together!

We are highly intuitive creatures raised to doubt; even in the dental chair. In fact, being at the dentist not only inspires the intuition, it triggers the instincts and unless you’re well versed with navigating through the mine fields, the experience is often times, exhausting for all involved.

Intuition is normal. Voicing it, on the other hand, is not so common; so, when a patient feels compelled to verbalize a thought and concern, the best approach is an empathetic response rather than a canned reaction. (and by ‘canned reaction’ I mean reassuring them with a standard come back for objections). Your dental patients are in your practice for a reason; YOU, and it’s you who stands to make a difference in their life, not just their dental experience.

You see, intuitively we meet; instinctively we question. When we disentangle our minds from all interpretations, we are in the position to serve and as dental professionals, like I said, we have an opportunity to honor our patients where they’ve historically felt dis-empowered and victimized.

1) When a patient questions a procedure or practice i.e. xrays or fluoride, hold this thought, their doubt is about them, not you… knowing this is half the battle AND gives you a solid foundation on which to respond. When you react (and trust me, they can feel your agitation no matter how calm the exterior, because we are intuitive creatures), you’ll experience more of the same challenges until you alter your thought process.

2) Make your responses more personalized. We live in a society where house calls are obsolete, distractions are the norm, and customized anything means putting your name on a coffee mug, t-shirt or license plate… in other words, we’re invisible. To compensate for this, people are asserting themselves more frequently, especially when their safety is ‘being threatened’, which shows up as anxiety, depression, ‘millions of questions’ and so on. Take the time to understand the person in front of you! What is his or her history and speak to that! Let them know they are in control and that you want to accommodate, within reason.

3) Give them solutions not validations. The other day I was listening to a Holistic Dentist speak about a patient’s objection to ‘more xrays’. Her comeback was this: ‘Well, keep in mind our digital technology has significantly decreased the amount of exposure to radiation and to give you a comparison, consider this: you get as much radiation on a cross country flight as you do in a full mouth series.’ Where is the comfort in this remark? There isn’t any. The patient simply hears there’s even more out there to worry about? In fact, I used to work with a doctor that repeatedly told his patients that to walk outside was to expose themselves to as much radiation as they were getting with ‘this’ PAX. Give your patients solutions. What is their concern? Radiation! Teach them how to restore their body no matter how minimal the exposure. If they’re worried, honor them, and restore their faith in their healthcare provider. Oh, by the way, suggest spirulina and / or chlorella in either tablet or powder form. These superfoods are known for reducing the radiation load in the body.

4) Acknowledge everything he or she brings up, one topic at a time. Reassure them that the technology is valid, as are their concerns. Know this, your patients know their body and they have a right to want to be as healthy as possible and the only way to do this is to inquire. You, as a professional, have the right to choose your technology because you want to provide the best care possible and have the right to educate. These two desires can coexist. The challenge is to NOT let the ego interfere with the relationship. Our bodies are wise; our experiences train us to listen… the key is to now listen to one another and know, beyond a shadow of a doubt, that neither one is the enemy. Allow intuition to lead the way. We are a team with the same goal, optimal oral systemic health.