Posted by Saleha Ali-Sahib - 20 Nov 2023
A dental hygienist is a professional actively involved with the prevention and treatment of periodontal disease, most commonly known as gum disease. They work alongside the dentist to support the health of your teeth and gums.
Different practices may have different protocols in a hygiene appointment, however, all hygienists will carry out the steps listed below.
In your appointment, the hygienist will carry out a thorough examination to assess the health of your oral cavity. This will typically start with an oral cancer screen which is where the clinician will palpate around your face, jaw and neck to feel for any lumps and bumps, then proceed to assess the soft tissues in your mouth such as the tongue and gums for any abnormalities.
This is followed by a thorough periodontal examination which is where the clinician will assess for signs of gum disease. This involves using a fine tipped instrument to measure the spaces, or in dental terms the pockets, under your gums, whilst also assessing for bleeding, inflammation, and bacteria buildup. Your clinician will then form a diagnosis based on all the assessments.
An important part of your visit is discussion of your homecare regime and habits. Your hygienist will provide oral hygiene education and instructions tailored to you. This typically involves discussing brushing and flossing techniques and tools, type of dentifrices and cleaning agents, dietary advice, smoking cessation advice, and tips for a better oral health.
Based on your gum health, your hygienist will then carry out a scale and polish. Some patients may require more than one appointment to have their clean completed; this is common for patients with very heavy buildup or advanced gum disease. Your hygienist will discuss your treatment plan along with the quote before starting your clean.
At the end of your appointment, your hygienist will advise you of your recommended recall which is how often you need to see the hygienist. This will either be 3, 6 or 12 monthly. A visit to your hygienist is a good time to ask lots of questions especially if you are planning on using any new products on your teeth, to ensure you are making an informed decision.
We hope this answers your questions about a hygiene visit. For any further queries, please contact us at https://www.hobsonvillepointdental.co.nz/contact-us/