October is National Dental Hygienist month, and at Lumos Dental we’re celebrating our hygiene team! The hygiene team is an important part of our practice. Sometimes, our patients wonder why the ‘hygiene’ part of the exam takes so much longer than the ‘dentist’ part. It’s because the hygiene appointment is about much more than cleaning teeth! Read on to find out what the hygienist is doing when you’re sitting in their chair.
Step One: Imaging
Smile, you’re on dental camera! Our hygiene appointments often begin with imaging. Our digital X-rays give negligible radiation exposure but allow us to see detailed images of your teeth and jaws. These images let us track changes to your teeth over time and alert us to damage or infection.
Step 2: Check those Teeth and Gums
The next step, and the most important, is checking your periodontal health. Your hygienist will gently probe your gums to look for signs of gum disease. One area we pay particular attention to is where your gums meet your teeth. In a healthy mouth, your gums are attached, and your teeth are held in place. In a diseased mouth, there are pockets of bacteria growing beneath the gumline. Left untreated, these infections will destroy your teeth, cause system-wide inflammation and health complications, and eventually lead to tooth loss.
During this phase the hygienist will also check the condition of your teeth and any restorations. If there are problems, the hygienist flags them for the dentist.
Step 3: Remove Calculus
After checking your gums, your hygienist begins to remove calculus – the hardened layer on your teeth that’s created by bacteria. Removing this layer removes the habitat where the bacteria in your mouth thrive, reduces the threat to your gums, and helps you have a cleaner, healthier mouth. If you’ve brushed and flossed well, the step is often very fast. If you’ve skimped on oral hygiene this step may take longer, but we’ll do whatever it takes to get your teeth healthy!
Step 4: Polishing and Fluoride
Finally, we’ll polish your teeth so that they feel healthy and clean. If needed, we’ll also give you a fluoride treatment.
After the hygiene appointment, the hygienist reports their findings to the dentist, and it’s time for the dentist appointment, where one of our doctors will give your teeth a more in depth look and discuss your dental needs with you.
Your hygienist’s hard work will keep your teeth healthy until you come back to see us in six months. So, next time you’re in our office, thank your hygienist for the great care!
By Lumos Dental
October 27, 2021