Lauren K. Chin, RDHAP
Dental Hygiene House Calls
Gentle | Affordable | Convenient
Dental Hygiene House Calls
Gentle | Affordable | Convenient
Lauren is a registered dental hygienist in alternative practice (RDHAP), which allows her to address access to care issues by bringing the dental hygiene appointment to patients who find coming into the office challenging. Unlike most RDHAPs, Lauren is credentialed to treat patients at California Pacific Medical Center campuses, and can offer her patients a hospital-based surgical private practice setting if needed. When she isn't treating patients, she's teaching as an instructor of periodontics and dental hygiene at the University of the Pacific, Arthur A. Dugoni School of Dentistry. She is also Executive Administrator of the Beyond Faces Foundation, a national nonprofit for children requiring facial reconstruction.
Prior to obtaining a B.S. in Dental Hygiene from University of the Pacific, Lauren earned B.A. degrees in both Journalism and Industrial Arts, with emphases in print and digital media, from San Francisco State University. She has worked for the UCSF Benioff Children’s Hospitals Foundation, with the Interdisciplinary Dental Education Academy, participated in clinical research, and continues to indulge in freelance projects.
Her journey thus far has made one thing abundantly clear: it is of paramount importance that people are good to themselves, and mindful of what is around them because how people are treated matters. It is critical to create healthy experiences for ourselves and each other. Lauren believes that the success of our environment is integral to our own success, which is why she strives to foster integrity, empathy, and respect by practicing those qualities personally and professionally.
A registered dental hygienist in alternative practice (RDHAP) offers an alternative to private practice, and in doing so addresses access to care barriers by serving vulnerable patient populations. With on-site dental hygiene, people who might go untreated can receive care. Examples of when house calls are beneficial:
Challenged mobility, cognitive impairment, limited manual dexterity, dry mouth, and complex medical histories are common within this population. Healthcare professionals understand that the health of the mouth impacts the health of the body, and that oral health is integral to sustained systemic health as well as quality of life.
To avoid complications like osteonecrosis of the jaw, meticulous oral hygiene is required of those who have undergone radiation therapy of the head and neck.
If an environment has been established at home that best suits the individual then it makes sense to bring care to them.
If getting to a dental office is too risky (e.g. injury from falling, getting hopelessly lost) then house calls are an alternative.
Eye exams are conducted in schools--why not dental hygiene, too? Parents don't have to take time off work, kids don't have to be removed from school, and disruption to the education process is minimized.
Serious life-altering complications can arise in those with a history of bisphosphonate use who require oral surgery, and the best treatment is prevention in the form of good oral hygiene.
Returning to civilian life can be daunting, which is why bringing services to the individual can be helpful.
Decreasing oral bacteria prior to surgery facilitates recovery, and maintenance while in recovery is helpful if the ability to engage in the activities of daily living are compromised.
House calls are suitable for those who find it challenging to come into a dental office. Caregivers are often the primary caretaker and unable to leave those in their charge unattended, which makes caring for themselves difficult.
There are various reasons why a person might require a dentist. For non-emergencies, patients can either go to a dentist or have a dentist brought to them. That dentist can either be someone Lauren chooses or someone the patient chooses. For emergencies, patients can be seen at California Pacific Medical Center in San Francisco where Lauren has hospital privileges and access to a hospital-based oral surgical private practice. If the patient has a dentist they would like to be seen by then please convey that to Lauren as she is happy to work with the existing dental team.
No more than when referring to any other specialist. Lauren carries her own professional liability insurance.
Dental hygienists (i.e. license RDH) that work in dental offices are employees that work for dentists. Dental hygienists that do house calls (i.e. license RDHAP) are independent contractors that work with dentists depending on the needs of the patient.
Step 1: Get an exam from a dentist or primary care physician (PCP).
Obtain the following statement on the letterhead of a dentist or PCP that reads: This is a standing order permitting Jane Doe to have dental hygiene services provided on-site by Lauren K. Chin with antibiotic premedication coverage as needed.
Step 2: Contact Lauren to schedule an appointment.
Commonly referred to as a “cleaning”, there are three types available: scale and polish, scaling and root debridement, or periodontal maintenance.
A patient’s oral health status informs what prophylactic treatment is selected.
For reference, a scale and polish is a basic cleaning. Root debridement, commonly referred to as a “deep cleaning", aims to combat gum disease (i.e. bone loss) by removing deposits further below the gumline. Periodontal maintenance is the kind of cleaning that happens after a deep cleaning to maintain health.
Topical fluoride can be applied to teeth to strengthen tooth structure, as well as reduce tooth sensitivity and risk of cavities.
This liquid topical medicament can be applied conservatively to cavities to arrest decay and make teeth less sensitive.
Trays may be created for delivery of fluoride or lightening agents. Lightening of the natural dentition is a cosmetic service, while fluoride application is a preventive measure. For patients who will receive new restorations, it is wise to lighten teeth prior to obtaining the new restoration so that the desired shade can be matched.
Before beginning treatment, a free consultation is performed. This allows practitioner, patient, and support team to become acquainted and ascertain the best course of action.
An oral cancer exam is performed at each visit and involves observation and palpation of the head and neck as well as mouth.
Digital x-ray images are taken conservatively.
Patients and caregivers alike receive tailored professional oral health education.
Floss, floss picks, soft picks, proxabrushes, stimudents, waterpiks, etc.
Prescription high fluoride tri-calcium phosphate toothpaste for those with or without dry mouth. To be used without eating or drinking 30 minutes after use for best results.
Prescription antibacterial mouth rinse. To be used one minute per day for one week per month without eating or drinking 30 minutes after use for best results.
A mouth rinse containing xylitol to fight cavities, fluoride to strengthen teeth, and pH neutralization to impede the breakdown of teeth.
Baking soda rinses are good for pH neutralization after meals and soothing oral tissues in general but are also good to use before brushing in the event of vomiting (e.g. flu, pregnancy, chemotherapy, etc.). Dissolve 1 teaspoon baking soda in 1 cup water.
There are different over-the-counter toothpastes that accommodate those with an allergy or aversion to certain ingredients. For example, sodium lauryl sulfate-free toothpastes are suitable for those whose sensitivity presents as canker sores, or arginine, which neutralizes plaque biofilm, can be a fluoride toothpaste alternative.
Xylitol (6-10 grams) helps fight cavities and can be found in stores and online.
A topical fluoride treatment applied to strengthen teeth, reduce cavities and decrease tooth sensitivity. For best results, avoid hard and hot foods for four hours after application.
A milk-derived fluoride paste for sensitive teeth.
A two-part mouth rinse that has an antibacterial component as well as xylitol, fluoride, and pH neutralizing component.
Biotene makes several products, one of which is a fluoride-free rinse for those experiencing dry mouth.
Bleach rinses, freshly made at the moment of use, may reduce gingival inflammation and bleeding. Dissolve 1 teaspoon bleach in 1 cup water and use twice weekly.
Oral health fact sheets are available in multiple languages courtesy of the California Dental Association.
Lauren travels to patients who find coming into the office for treatment challenging. For those who prefer to be seen in a traditional office setting, Lauren treats patients in private practice at California Pacific Medical Center, 2100 Webster Street Suite 303, San Francisco, CA 94115.