A dental hygienist uses educational, therapeutic and preventative methods for controlling oral diseases like gum disease and tooth decay. Although dental hygienists are a part of a dental team and work closely with other dentists, their role is pretty different.
A dental hygienist typically focuses on preventative measures such as gum and teeth cleaning and fluoride treatments, while a dentist mostly deals with diagnosing oral issues, interpreting x-rays and providing advanced dental procedures like implants, root canals, crowns, bridges, etc.
If you’re planning to pay a visit to a dental hygienist for the first time, then here is what you should expect.
The first thing a dental hygienist will go through is your dental history; if you’re experiencing any oral issues such as sensitivity, bleeding, foul taste, biting pain or bad breath.
Then your medical history will be discussed—if you have any medical conditions, allergies, dental anxiety or concerns.
All these details will help the dental hygienist customize and alter the treatment according to your needs.
Based on the dental treatment you’ll be getting, the hygienist will administer local anesthetic. In some cases, you might need it in some or all areas of the mouth for a more comfortable treatment.
This stage of the appointment involves the treatment of the teeth and gums. The hygienist will use an ultrasonic scalar to removes initial deposits like plaque, tartar, and stains from your teeth with water and microscopic vibrations.
After this, the hygienist will use a manual scaler to remove leftover deposits and smooth the roots and tooth. You might feel a scratching sensation during the process, but it won’t hurt or damage your tooth.
Once all the deposits have been removed from your teeth and gums, the hygienist will use dental floss and probe to check if the areas between your teeth are also completely clean.
After your teeth and gums have been cleaned perfectly, the hygienist will polish your teeth to make them look shinier.
Based on your oral health, the hygienist will recommend things that you should do at home to keep your teeth and gums clean between appointments. These might include improving your brushing and flossing technique, using a certain type of toothbrush, toothpaste or mouthwash.
To maintain your oral health and hygiene, it’s recommended that you visit a dental hygienist every six months. This ensures your teeth and gums are in good shape and help in diagnosing any underlying issue that would require advanced treatment by a professional dentist.