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A Tale of Two Hygienists Podcast

May 29, 2019

It’s the final installment of Andrew and Michelle’s four-part cariology series! To cap off our journey with caries, we’re stepping away from private practices to learn how dental professionals in the public health sector deal with all things related to tooth decay.

Sharity Ludwig, RDH, is the Director of Clinical Innovations and the Director of Community Dental Programs for Advantage Dental, which provides dental care to Medicaid recipients throughout Oregon in partnership with DentaQuest. Sharity and her team work specifically with expecting mothers and parents of young infants to ensure dental health and caries prevention from a young age. She and her colleagues wish to debunk the idea that cavities are inevitable for young children.

In this episode, Sharity discusses the differences between public and private dental practice, explains how she and her team perform community outreach, and reveals her technique for silver fluoride application.


Mouthwatch is the official sponsor the Cariology Series this month. They are offering an extra 10% off every MouthWatch intraoral camera order using the code “ATOTH” You can save an additional 10% when you buy more than one! EVERY HYGIENIST SHOULD HAVE A CAMERA IN THEIR OPERATORY! Head over to their site to find out more! Offer heard at minute 7:40.



Interview starts: 10:55

- How Sharity sought out segments of the patient population who weren’t getting proper preventative caries treatment.

- Sharity explains what an Expanded Practice Permit is, how to get one, and why you would want to.

- Why Sharity’s virtual setup allows for greater collaboration amongst dental professionals.

- What’s WIC, and how was Sharity able to improve their level of service?

- How working in community dental care greatly differs from working in a private practice.

- Sharity’s specialized method for identifying—if not necessarily diagnosing—signs of caries. 

- The many ways Sharity and her team liaise with patients, resources and other professionals in the community.

- The materials Sharity uses for temporary restorations.

- Her team’s experience with early adoption, how it’s backfired for them, and how they’ve made better use of it for the future.

- Sharity explains her “dry, apply and say ‘bye’” approach to using silver fluoride.

- The signs of success that Sharity and her team have started to see over the last couple years.

- Sharity’s big tooth decay prevention tips and tricks, and why circumstances can make these strategies more difficulty for some.

- What students should research if they’re contemplating working in the public health sector.


“A lot of folks don’t necessarily understand that connection between the bacteria and the nutritional components in addition to their oral health.”

“The one thing in dentistry we can agree on is that if you’ve had a cavity in the past, you’re likely gonna have a cavity in the future.”

“You always need to at least see your dentist on an annual basis for follow up to care.”

“Each patient is handled on a case-by-case basis based off of what their level of disease is and what resources are available in the community.”

“We’re trying to stabilize them until they can get back to a dentist to have more comprehensive care.”

"There’s more research needed to know what’s right.”

“The first thing that we do is try to establish a relationship and understand where they’re coming from so we can give them tailored information and help them set self-management goals.”

“When you have your Why and your Passion as a hygienist and anything you do in life it will keep you on your path and help you go far.”



Sharity’s email:

Advantage Dental -

Advanced Dental Information Network (ADIN) -


Thank you to Paradise Dental Technologies aka PDT for providing sponsorship for this episodes CE credits!

THIS EPISODE COUNTS FOR CE! - but read the disclaimer below as it might not count for your state.

Go here to take the test and get your CE Credit!

Approved Pace Program Provider FAGD/MAGD Credit Approval Does Not Imply Acceptance By A State Or Provincial Board of Dentistry Or AGD Endorsement. 1/1/18- 12/31/19 Provider #373236

Be sure to thank the sponsor for CE for this episode by heading over to and picking up a new instrument or telling them thank you in person at one of the conferences!

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