During a dental hygiene appointment, you will be greeted by a friendly hygienist who will spend 40 minutes with you. The role of the hygienist is to assess the oral hygiene and dental health of all their patients. A hygienist will do this is by completing the following steps:
- A medical history check
- Extra-oral and intra-oral cancer check
- A periodontal chart (measurement of how healthy the gums are). This is used to identify if the gums are healthy or if there is disease present (for example, gingivitis or periodontal disease).
- Scale and clean. This is done with an ultrasonic scaler that uses vibration and a water tip to remove any calculus (calcified plaque) from the teeth and under the gums. Hand scalers are used in conjunction with the ultrasonic scaler to remove any calculus left under the gum because it could not be removed with the ultrasonic scaler.
- A polish is completed with a gritty paste that contains fluoride. This paste removes any extrinsic staining from the teeth and leaves the patient’s teeth feeling silky smooth and fresh.
- Oral hygiene instructions and education. These will be given to educate and encourage patients in maintaining optimal oral and dental health. During oral hygiene instruction and education, the hygienist will show the patient the correct toothbrushing technique, and different methods of cleaning in between the teeth (such as floss, floss piks, Superfloss and Piksters, according to each individual’s needs).
- Fluoride mouth rinse. A 30-second fluoride mouth rinse helps to strengthen your teeth and reduce any sensitivity after a clean.
During an oral hygiene visit, it may be determined that the patient needs a 6-monthly or 12-monthly dental check-up. If this is the case a dentist will be notified and will join the hygiene appointment to complete the comprehensive examination.
Patients should visit a hygienist every 6 months to ensure optimal oral and dental health in conjunction with brushing twice daily and flossing once daily at home.