Jeannette Diaz, MS, RDHAP, is a public-health alternative practice dental hygienist and an educator. She provides preventive care to the elderly and adults with disabilities by bringing care directly to their homes with portable equipment. So, what does a dental hygienist who packs an entire office into a rolling cart have on her tray? The most reliable necessities!
Made in America
It is only fitting that Jeannette would learn about her favorite product, the Dove Saliva Ejector Valve, while working for a veterans’ hospital. “It is important to me to support my country’s economy and business owners,” she says. Equally important to Jeannette is patient safety. “The top reason this is my favorite product is that it provides another level of safety for my immunocompromised patients.”
The Dove Saliva Ejector Plus Combo is a saliva ejector and disposable backflow valve. The backflow valve contains a one-way backflow preventer so that patients are not sharing things that are not meant to be shared. It also makes sure your saliva ejector stays where it is supposed to, attached to the small-volume evacuator and not on the floor.
Almost all of Jeannette’s patients struggle to keep their mouths open. She treats patients with cerebral palsy, Huntington’s disease, muscular dystrophy, and other disabilities. “I use mouth props to help with my patients who have difficulties controlling their tongue and muscles.”
The Open Wide Mouth Rest is a long rectangular foam rest with a handle that clinicians and caregivers can place in a patient’s mouth to assist the patient in keeping their mouth open The Open Wide Mouth Rest differs from a bite block because it has a handle and is disposable.
Jeannette adds, “I sometimes have patients who will not open their mouths; this helps get them to open.” This disposable option can be used by caregivers to assist them in opening a patient’s mouth while brushing their teeth.
Jeannette adds that she also has patients “who bite down and cannot control it.” For those patients, and patients with an “aggressive bite,” the manufacturer recommends using the “thick” Open Wide Mouth Rest. The Open Wide Mouth Rest differs from a bite block because it has a handle and is disposable. Having disposable options allows caregivers to utilize the mouth rests to keep patients’ mouths open while brushing their teeth.
A silver lining
While Jeannette serves patients with access-to-care issues, she is grateful for products like silver diamine fluoride (SDF). “I know the SDF will arrest decay, buy time, and prevent disease progression,” she says.
Elevate Oral Care’s Advantage Arrest Silver Diamine Fluoride is an affordable and “easy to apply” option for Jeanette’s patients who are either at “high risk for cavities or have active cavities.” SDF, like other fluorides, provides relief for dental hypersensitivity but also arrests active disease.
The silver in SDF kills pathogenic organisms and remineralizes dentin, making it a must-have product for serving patients who have barriers to care. “My patients with dementia cannot brush and have dry mouths, which makes them super high risk for cavities.”
SDF is also used for interim care and for patients who are too young to tolerate invasive dental care. It is not surprising that SDF is on this advanced practicing dental hygienist’s tray as its arresting qualities and ease of use are becoming more and more well known.
What else is on Jeannette’s tray? Follow her @californiardhap on Instagram for more public health tips.