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4 clinical hacks to make dental professionals more successful

Feb. 9, 2024
From controlling bleeding in the gingival tissues to calming gagging patients and spotting signs of airway issues, here’s some practical advice to make your day go more smoothly.
Vicki Cheeseman, Associate Editor

Bethany Montoya, BAS, RDH, editorial director of DentistryIQ’s Clinical Insights, is an actively practicing dental hygienist who understands the rigors of working clinically. From taming a runaway schedule so you can keep your sanity to controlling bleeding in the gingival tissues, calming gagging patients, and spotting signs of airway issues, Bethany shares advice you can use in your practice today to make things go more smoothly.

Managing your schedule

You can either let your schedule run you, or you can take control. Can you imagine having a dream schedule? This is an attainable goal if you approach it the right way, and that means strategically planning and organizing, considering productivity and timing, preparing for interruptions, setting boundaries with patients, and involving your team. Not only can you create a workable schedule, but you can also create one you can live happily with every day. Try these tips for managing your dental practice schedule.

Managing gagging patients

Everyone has encountered patients who are gaggers. Don’t be so quick to write off these patients as just being difficult. Have you tried using breathing techniques to help these patients relax and divert their focus? What about putting salt on the tongue? You could also look to topical anesthetics, low-level laser therapy, and even conscious sedation if the situation warrants it. Here are some new techniques right along with the tried-and-true to manage gagging patients.

Managing bleeding tissues

Controlling bleeding in the gingival tissues is key to being able to perform any type of dental treatment. Whether you are cementing permanent crowns or performing periodontal therapy, managing bleeding is essential for a successful clinical outcome. Most important is to make sure you’ve conducted a thorough patient assessment and health history. If you can determine potential bleeding issues before they happen, you'll be more prepared if they arise during dental treatment. Whenever bleeding does occur, you can achieve hemostasis in a variety of ways, including use of wet gauze, hemostatic products, or a laser to cauterize the tissues. Try these techniques to manage bleeding.

Managing patients' airway issues

Dental health-care professionals are key players in educating patients about the connection between oral and systemic health. Being in the position of seeing patients more frequently than their medical counterparts presents a unique and vital opening to discuss the effects of sleep disorders on airway health and well-being. Once again, conducting comprehensive health assessments during patient interviewing and documenting medical histories can make a difference in providing optimal patient care. Learn more about how to conduct intra- and extraoral exams and test/screen for airway issues.

Editor's note: This article first appeared in Clinical Insights newsletter, a publication of the Endeavor Business Media Dental Group. Read more articles and subscribe.

Vicki Cheeseman is an associate editor in Endeavor Business Media's Dental Group. She edits for Dental EconomicsRDH, Perio-Implant Advisory, DentistryIQ, and Clinical Insights.

About the Author

Vicki Cheeseman | Associate Editor

Vicki Cheeseman is an associate editor in Endeavor Business Media’s Dental Group. She edits for Dental Economics, RDH, DentistryIQ, and Perio-Implant Advisory. She has a BS in mathematics and a minor in computer science. Early on she traded numbers for words and has been happy ever since. Vicki began her career with Dental Economics in 1987 and has been fascinated with how much media production has changed through the years, yet editorial integrity remains the goal. In her spare time, you’ll find her curled up with a book—editor by day, reader always.