Visiting a dental hygienist or a dentist for hygiene appointments is important to help you maintain good oral health. It is commonly recommended for everyone to have a professional gum assessment and scale clean at least every six months.
Want to know what you can expect during a dental hygiene appointment?
Your hygienist/dentist should start the appointment by checking your medical and dental history. If you have a complex medical history and are taking some medications, please bring a full list of your current diagnoses and medications. Also, if you’ve had any recent dental treatments or dental X-rays at a different clinic, it is a good idea to obtain these records and bring them to the appointment.
Once your clinician has a full understanding of your health condition, they will start checking the status of your gums. To do so, they will use a periodontal probe to measure the pocket depth around each tooth and the level of the gum recession. Any bleeding points and mobility of teeth will also be recorded as part of your gum assessment. Most of the time, gum examination is pain free. However, you might experience some sensitivity at the sites where the gum is not perfectly healthy.
After the gum assessment, your hygienist/dentist will explain the results to you and prescribe suitable oral hygiene treatments. If your gums are healthy and stable, your clinician will give your teeth a scale and clean to remove all the plaque and calculus. They will use an ultrasonic machine, which sprays water and vibrates. After that, some cleaning with hand instruments might be required. You will also have your teeth polished with a pleasantly minty paste. With everything now clean and fresh, this is the best time to have a fluoride treatment to strengthen your teeth.
However, if there are complicated gum problems that cannot be addressed with a general scale and clean, your hygienist will discuss a treatment plan with you. This might include a few more appointments for deep and heavy cleans, or it might involve a referral to a gum specialist (periodontist) for further treatment.
At each appointment, you will be given some guidance on how to maintain good oral health. Your hygienist will give you advice based on the gum assessment and will ask about your hygiene routine at home. They might point out areas you need to improve on, demonstrate techniques of brushing and flossing, and recommend oral hygiene products, such as an electric toothbrush and interdental brushes.
Once your appointment is complete, your hygienist will arrange your next routine dental hygiene appointment or a reminder.