Everything you need to know about your dental hygienist
Have you ever stopped to wonder how your dental hygienist manages to make your teeth feel so clean? In this post we’ll explore this and all the other important checks that happen at each dental hygiene visit.
We hope that this will inspire you not only to appreciate your dental hygienist more, but to learn more and ask plenty of questions of your hygienist. One of our values at Downtown Nanaimo Dental Group is your education. With knowledge comes the power to make your healthy teeth and smile last – so if you have a question, write it down and feel free to ask away at your next appointment!
Why come for a professional teeth cleaning?
The short answer is because you want to have healthy teeth that last into old age. Going a bit deeper, you have to understand that plaque builds up 24/7 and that brushing and flossing only interrupt the build up of tarter and calculus. Furthermore, dental hygienists clean below the gum line where you can’t reach with brushing or flossing. You can say that your dental hygiene appointments level the playing field with plaque so you can keep up.
What can you do to prepare for a hygiene visit?
If you often feel pain or discomfort during a dental cleaning, take some ibuprofen just before the appointment. For more intense discomfort, we can also use dental freezing –just let us know.
Please be on time as there is plenty to be covered in your 1 hour appointment.
Come regularly. Depending on your situation you may be advised to come every 3 – 4 months, every 6 months or yearly. Since our goal for you is to get you into a maintenance phase, we won’t advise you to come more than necessary. Coming regularly means your dental hygienist can cover the full cleaning procedure in one hour – and it also means you head off dental problems before they begin.
What is your hygienist doing at the appointment?
Most obviously, your hygienist will be cleaning your teeth! This is done both above the gum line (scaling) and below the gum-line (root planing) using a traditional hand scaler combined with modern ultrasonic scaling inserts that use vibrations to remove deposits. Calculus or hardened plaque build up cannot be removed by brushing and flossing at home, so removing this answers the question of why your teeth feel so spacious after a dental hygienist cleaning.
In addition to this amazing cleaning your dental hygienist is busy heading off more serious dental problems through:
- a periodontal assessment: including probing the depths around the tooth for signs of loss in the bone supporting the teeth in the mouth;
- checking for gum recession, which measures how much attached gum is present and exposed root surface;
- checking mobility of the teeth;
- checking for presence of gingivitis;
- polishing: to remove any surface stain, delay the plaque from forming as quickly and as a bonus some polishing pastes have ingredients that help the tooth take in fluoride better and therefore strengthen the teeth;
- fluoride treatment (optional) helps prevent further cavities from forming and harden areas that are weaker;
- an extra-oral exam is done at least once a year to check the head, neck and jaw areas for confirmation of health;
- An intra-oral exam to check the gum tissues, tongue and lips for confirmation of health;
- x-rays are done if due for them -these are important for preventative measures
You’ll also have an exam done by your dentist as well as get a chance to ask any question you might have. As you can see there is a lot going on at your dental hygienist visit.
Now that you know, you can maximize the health of your family’s teeth and maximize the benefit of your dental hygiene visits. Please follow this link to find out the top 4 dental hygienist tips for home dental care, as well as what to expect at your dental hygienist visit.
Downtown Nanaimo Dental Group is proud to serve your complete dental health needs in Nanaimo. Our Nanaimo dentists and dental hygienists believe in continuous learning to bring you the latest technology in dental medicine and our team of dental professionals aspire to the highest level of patient care. At each visit to our office we treat you with the respect, honesty and dignity that you deserve.