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Eastern Medicine Meets Dentistry: The Use of Herbal Supplements in Dentistry (AGD 130)

Presenter: Natalie Kaweckyj, LDARF, CDA, CDPMA, COMSA, COA, CPFDA, CRFDA, MADAA, BA


Herbs and other supplements are becoming much more common in the United States  due to public dissatisfaction of soaring prescription costs the past couple of decades, combined with the interest in returning to naturally-based products. One in three individuals takes some form of supplementation, whether in the form of vitamins, minerals or tonic. According to the World Health Organization, it is estimated that 80% of people worldwide rely on herbal medicines for some part of their primary health care management. In addition to the supplements many of our patients are knowingly taking, some oral health products contain herbal ingredients that may cause adverse outcomes when taken with other over-the-counter or prescription medications. The dental team must be aware of oral products containing herbs and supplements and recognize potentially dangerous combinations between various herbs or supplements and drugs commonly used in dentistry today.


Natalie Kaweckyj, LDARF, CDA, CDPMA, COMSA, COA, CPFDA, CRFDA, MADAA, BA currently resides in Minneapolis, MN, where she is a clinician and part of the management team for a nonprofit dental clinic seeing underserved children and pregnant women. She is a Licensed Dental Assistant in Restorative Functions (LDARF), Certified Dental Assistant (CDA), Certified Dental Practice Management Administrator (CDPMA), Certified Orthodontic Assistant (COA), Certified Oral & Maxillofacial Surgery Assistant (COMSA), Certified Preventive Functions Dental Assistant (CPFDA), Certified Restorative Functions Dental Assistant (CRFDA) and a Master of the American Dental Assistants Association. She holds several expanded function certificates, including the administration of nitrous oxide/oxygen analgesia. Ms. Kaweckyj graduated from the American Dental Association-accredited dental assisting program at ConCorde Career Institute and has received a Bachelor of Arts in Biology and Psychology from Metropolitan State University. She has worked clinically, administratively and academically. Ms. Kaweckyj is currently ADAA President (2017-2018) and previously served on the ADAA Board of Trustees 2002 - 2012, and 2016 - 2017. She served as ADAA President in 2010 - 2011. She is the current Business Secretary and legislative chairman for the Minnesota Dental Assistants Association (MnDAA) and a three time past president of MnDAA. She also is a Past President of the Minnesota Educators of Dental Assistants (MEDA) and still an active member. Natalie has served previously as a member director to the ADAAF/DAF and is one of the founding officers of the PDAEF. In addition to her association duties, Natalie is very involved with the Minnesota state board of dentistry as well as with state legislature in the expansion of the dental assisting profession. She is a freelance writer and lecturer and is always working on some project. She has authored many other courses and webinars for the ADAA.


After completing this course, the dental professional should be able to:

• Explain the evolution of supplement use.
• Examine the rationale and trends for supplement usage by dental patients.
• List the more common herbs used as supplements.
• Identify which herbal supplement might be used to treat depression.
• Name the herbal supplement that might be used to improve memory function.
• Recall which herbal supplement might be used to prevent cardiovascular disease.
• Discuss the factors that may impact herbal potency.
• Understand how dietary supplements and herbal medicines are regulated.
• Relate potential drug interactions with dental drugs.
• Summarize possible oral complications with the use of some herbal and dietary supplements.
• Describe the differences in pharmacology between traditional drugs and herbal medicines.
• Recognize which herbal supplements hinder blood clotting.
• Recite the herbal supplements that may interfere with anesthetics.
• List the herbal supplements that may cause cardiovascular interactions.
• Recognize which herbal supplements may cause gastrointestinal interactions.
• Identify the herbal supplements that may interfere with inflammatory and immune responses.
• Describe herbal supplements that may be useful in dentistry.
• Explain the types of alternative oral and dental care products.
• Recommend alternatives and suggestions to patients in terms of vitamin usage, ingredients in oral care products and where to look for additional information.


The ADAA has an obligation to disseminate knowledge in the field of dentistry.  Sponsorship of a continuing education program by the ADAA does not necessarily imply endorsement of a particular philosophy, product or technique.

The ADAA cautions participants taking this course on the hazards of using limited knowledge when integrating new techniques into their practices.

Credits earned upon completion of the course may be used to meet DANB’s Recertification Requirements.


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