• 18 May 2018 12:00 AM | Anonymous

    It's hard to believe that this should even be discussed or questioned but evidently it needs to emphasized.
    This article is by permission of Penwell Publishing and by
    Tija Hunter, CDA, EFDA, CDIA, MADAA.  Tija is an expanded functions dental assistant/office manager in O'Fallon, Missouri.  She is the director of the Dental Careers Institute and a member of the American Dental Assistants Association, where she holds a Master.  She is also an independent consultant specializing in team building, assistant training, and office organization.

    Dental Office Infection Control Myth Busters:  Handpieces
    I've found that there is so much misinformation out there about infection control in the dental setting.  Instead of relying on a good source for information, people tend to "do what they've always done", or, they hear something but never check to see if it's true.
    A common myth I hear when I visit dental offices has to do with handpieces and whether they should be sterilized.  I've been told, "This is a gray area and not something that has to be done."  While it's true that the CDC is clear about handpiece sterilization, the CDC is not a regulatory agency.  It doesn't make laws.  Rather, it creates guidelines and comes up with recommendations. 
    I hear that people don't like handpieces to be sterilized because this will ruin the turbine, causing it to need to be replaced often.  Turbines are tiny and expensive, so having to frequently change one not only costs money but leaves the office with one less handpiece.  This can be a longer period of waiting if the turbines are sent out to be changed.  Being short a handpiece is aggravating, to say the least. 
    What ruins the turbines is not the sterilization process itself, but rather the improper lubrication.  There is no way any one of us can deliver lubrication, express the oil, and clean a handpiece the way a lubrication station does.  The station delivers the precise amount of oil and cleaner, and using compressed air, it properly expels debris and excess oil while simultaneously lubricating the handpiece.  This must be done after each use to ensure that our handpieces are properly lubricated before going through the sterilization process. 
    Remember that after use, handpieces should never be wiped down with disinfectant.  All handpieces should be run under water and brushed with a soft brush to clean off any debris around the head and the fiberoptic light.  Once this is completed, the handpiece can be placed in the lubrication station for processing. 
    When handpieces come out of the autoclave, yes, I realize we are sometimes in a hurry, and sometimes there aren't enough handpieces to go around.  And here is a story I hear all too often.  The autoclave "dings" and someone rushes to take out the handpiece.  The person rips open the package runs the handpiece under cold water to cool it off before rushing it to the operatory to use.  STOP!  This is hard on the handpiece casing and can cause it to crack.
    All instrument that are removed from the autoclave must go through every single cycle, including the drying cycle, before being removed.  If you're short on instruments and find yourself cutting corners on infection control to get through the day, then you're doing it wrong.  At that point, it's time to have a talk with the dentist abut the need for more instruments to do your jobs properly and deliver the best patient care. 
    Remember, there is only one way to do infection control and that's the right way!
    When you want to go to the authorities on infection control, you need to go to the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) and the Organization for Safety, Asepsis and Prevention (OSAP).  These are the people who set the guidelines for how we should clean, disinfect, and sterilize our surfaces, instruments and treatment rooms.

  • 11 May 2018 12:00 AM | Anonymous

  • 20 Apr 2018 12:00 AM | Anonymous

    SUMMARY HIGHLIGHT FROM 2018 OREGON DENTAL CONFERENCEChemeketa dental assistant students and faculty enjoying the conference.

    The Dental Conference was a great success thanks to many individuals who helped in so many ways.  First of all was ODAA's Vice President who worked diligently putting our portion of the conference together - dignitaries and speakers.  Thank you, Mary.

    It has been several years since we have had representation from Central Office of the American Dental Assistants Association,  the Dental Assisting National Board and the DALE Foundation.  A luncheon hosted by ODAA, DANB, and the DALE Foundation celebrated the work of dental assistants and the value they bring to dental practices and the oral health of the community.  Following the luncheon a educational panel was presented in segments by:

    Cynthia Durley, M.Ed., MBA, DANB and the DALE Foundation
    Stacy Bone, EFDA, 200hr YTT
    Teresa Haynes, Oregon Board of Dentistry
    Ginny Jorgensen, CDA, EFDA, EFODA, AAS
    Mariah Kraner, MA, PhD, A-dec

    All giving insights and opportunities available for dental assistants.
    Another note of gratitude is extended to Katie Gander, ODAA's Executive Assistant, who was able to give support at the courtesy table in the foyer.  And to speaker hosts for their loyal support and assistance.  Lynn Murray, Bonnie Marshall, and Mary Harrison.  All are needed and so much appreciated.
    Presenters Dr's Judah Garfinkle and Daniel Petrisor were very well received.  Excellent comments by all who attended.
    The raffle was another highlight with many trying their luck but unfortunately everyone who tried could not have the winning ticket.   The Insta Pot was won by Ginny Jorgensen of Canby.  All proceeds are to be presented to Smile Oregon to ensure every child in Oregon affected by a cleft or other craniofacial condition has access to the coordinated care they deserve.

  • 15 Mar 2018 12:00 AM | Anonymous

    Celebrating the Value of Dental Assistants

    Join the Oregon Dental Assistants Association, DANB and the DALE Foundation as we celebrate the work of dental assistants and the value they bring to dental practices and the oral health community. Network with peers and enjoy a three-course buffet lunch during the Oregon Dental Conference. 

    Thursday, April 5th, 2018
    Oregon Convention Center, Rooms F150-151
    11:30 AM - Registration and Networking
    12:00 PM - Luncheon 

    Advanced registration and ticket purchase is required to attend this luncheon. Space is limited and the event will sell out. Purchase your ticket today. Register by 3/22 and receive a DALE Foundation gift bag that includes a certificate for $10 off the DANB ICE Review, DANB ICE Practice Test, DANB RHS Review, DANB RHS Practice Test, or Understanding CDC’s Summary of Infection Prevention Practices in Dental Settings.


  • 16 Feb 2018 12:05 AM | Anonymous

  • 16 Feb 2018 12:00 AM | Anonymous

    Dental Assisting continues to diversify and expand.  Whether working chairside with the dentist, exposing and processing radiographs, managing the business office, teaching or working in insurance, or as a sales representative, dental assistants are vital to the success of the dental practice.  Contributing to quality dental care, today's dental assistants are role models of professional development, strengthening the entire dental team and enhance patient comfort and satisfaction throughout the world. 
    Dental Assistants Recognition Week is scheduled March 4 - 10, 2018.  A week long tribute to the commitment and dedication dental assistants exhibit throughout the year. 
    "Dental Assistants:  Advancing the Profession through Collaboration and Leadership"  is the theme for this years annual Dental Assistants Recognition Week:  time for dental assistants to receive greater recognition for their own unique and diverse contributions to the dental profession and the dental health care of the public. 
    Dental Assistants Recognition Week is sponsored by the American Dental Assistants Association (ADAA) and the Professional Dental Assistants Education Foundation (PDAEF). 
    I hope your class will have time to plan a fun activity.  Join us in observing Dental Assistants Recognition Week 2018!

  • 25 Jan 2018 12:00 AM | Anonymous

  • 29 Dec 2017 12:00 AM | Anonymous

  • 17 Nov 2017 12:00 AM | Anonymous

    Here in America, we have a long tradition of thanksgiving. It began in 1621 when the first settlers declared a day of thanksgiving in gratitude to God for His bountiful provision of the fall harvest. Although it was not one big meal but meals(s) that went on for a week. In between those meals, the story tells, of how they played games, sang and danced. The Wampunoag people and chief Ousamequin had taught the settlers how to plant crops and helped them through their first winter. Their meals were not as we consider a standard Thanksgiving meal but most likely consisted of: duck or other waterfowl, venison, samp (a kind of porridge or corn-based oatmeal), seafood, cabbage, onions, corn and squash. Definitely no cranberry sauce or masked potatoes and gravy.

    Then during George Washington's first year as president, he recognized a day of thanksgiving for the nation. Our current Thanksgiving holiday became official in 1863 during President Lincoln's tenure.

    Amongst the feasting, football and early Christmas shopping, we shouldn't lose sight of the original purpose for the holiday---to be thankful.

    Happy Thanksgiving from everyone on the ODAA Executive Board. We are so grateful for each of you---are members. We hope you will have a blessed Thanksgiving holiday and you in turn will be a blessing to your patients, family, friends and everyone you encounter as we enter in to the hustle and bustle of the holiday season.

    Linda Kihs, CDA, EFDA, OMSA, MADAA

    ODAA President

  • 13 Oct 2017 12:00 AM | Anonymous


    We in the dental field know that poor dental care can lead to cavities but how often do we think about other more serious health problems that can result from poor oral hygiene. 

    • Endocarditis.  Endocarditis is an infection of the inner lining of the heart (endocardium).  Endocarditis typically occurs when bacteria or other germs from another part of your body, such as your mouth, spread through your bloodstream and attach to damaged areas in your heart.
    • Cardiovascular disease.  Research suggests that inflammation of the gums and periodontal disease can enter your bloodstream and travel to the arteries in the heart and cause atherosclerosis (hardening of the arteries).  Atherosclerosis causes plaque to develop on the inner walls of arteries which thicken and this decreases or may block blood flow through the body, raising blood pressure.  There is also a risk that fatty plaque will break off the wall of a blood vessel and travel to the heart or the brain.  This can cause an increased risk of heart attack or stroke.
    • Dementia.  The bacteria from gingivitis may enter the brain through either nerve channels in the head or through the bloodstream, that might lead to the development of Alzheimer's disease. 
    • Respiratory infections.  The Journal of Periodontology warns that gum disease could cause one to get infections in their lungs, including pneumonia. While the connection might not be completely obvious at first, think of what might happen from breathing in bacteria from infected teeth and gums over a long period of time.
    • Diabetic complications.  Inflammation that starts in the mouth seems to weaken the body's ability to control blood sugar.  People with diabetes have trouble processing sugar because of a lack of insulin, the hormone that converts sugar into energy.  Diabetes sufferer are also more susceptible to periodontal disease, causing the impairment of the body's ability to utilize insulin.  Thus, the making proper dental care even more important for those with this disease. 
    • Oral health and pregnancy.  Babies born too early or at a low birth weight often have significant heath problems, including lung conditions, heart conditions, and learning disorders.  While many factors can contribute to premature or low birth weight deliveries, researchers are looking at the possible role of gum disease.  Bacteria that causes dental caries can be transmitted through the bloodstream from the mouth to other parts of the body, including the placenta, and contribute to the development of serious systemic diseases.
    • Osteoporosis.  The link between periodontitis and osteoporosis is controversial however osteoporosis causes bones to become weak and brittle.  This might be linked with periodontal bone loss and tooth loss.
    • HIV/AIDS.  Oral problems, such as painful mucosal lesions, are common in people who have HIV/AIDS. 
    • Alzheimer's disease.  Tooth loss before age 35 might be a risk factor for Alzheimer's disease. 
    • Pancreatic cancer.  Researchers have known for years that poor oral health, including bleeding gums and lots of missing teeth, is associated with a higher risk of getting pancreatic cancer. Now they are finding that certain bacteria linked to that periodontal disease may be behind the connection.  Research recently released showed that two species of bacteria, Porphyromonas gingivalis and Aggregatibacter actinomycetemcomitans, were associated with a sharply increased risk of getting pancreatic cancer. The data showed that carrying both bacteria was linked to a 50 percent increased likelihood of contracting the cancer, said Jiyoung Ahn, associate director of population sciences at the Laura and Isaac Perlmutter Cancer Center at NYU Langone Medical Center.
    • Other conditions.  Other conditions that might be linked to oral health include Sjorgren's syndrome - an immune system disorder that causes dry mouth and eating disorders.

    Research shows that more than 90 percent of all systemic diseases have oral manifestations.  Years ago, a physician who suspected heart disease would probably not refer the patient to a dentist.  The same went for diabetes, pregnancy or just about any other medical condition.  Times have changed.  The past 5 to 10 years have seen ballooning interest in possible links between mouth health and body health. 


    • WebMD
    • Academy of General Dentistry
    • E-newsletter
    • Colgate
    • Washington Post

    Submitted by:

    Linda Kihs, CDA, EFDA, OMSA, MADAA

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