Dental hygienists are licensed oral health professionals who focus on preventing and treating oral diseases-both to protect teeth and gums, and also to protect patients’ total health. They are graduates of accredited dental hygiene education programs in colleges and universities, and must take a written national board examination and a clinical examination before they are licensed to practice.
A comprehensive dental exam will be performed by your dentist at your initial dental visit. At regular check-up exams, your dentist and hygienist will include the following:
Review of patients’ health (medical) history: Help us stay informed of patients overall health, any new medications, and any illnesses that may impact their dental health
Examination of diagnostic x-rays (radiographs): Essential for detection of decay, tumors, cysts, and bone loss. X-rays also help determine tooth and root positions.
Oral cancer screening: Check the face, neck, lips, tongue, throat, tissues, and gums for any signs of oral cancer.
Gum disease evaluation: Check the gums and bone around the teeth for any signs of periodontal disease.
Examination of tooth decay: All tooth surfaces will be checked for decay with special dental instruments.
Examination of existing restorations: breakdown or defects
Intra oral camera: Maneuvering a small camera lens in the mouth, we can project images of mouth and teeth onto a TV monitor, allowing us (and patients) to be better informed when making treatment decisions that are best.
Professional Dental Cleaning (dental prophylaxis):Usually performed by Registered Dental Hygienists. Dental prophylaxis appointment will include a dental exam and the following:
Removal of calculus (tartar): Calculus is hardened plaque that has been left on the tooth for some time and is now firmly attached to the tooth surface. Calculus forms above and below the gum line and can only be removed with special dental instruments.
Removal of plaque: Plaque is a sticky, almost invisible film that forms on the teeth. It is a growing colony of living bacteria, food debris, and saliva. The bacteria produce toxins (poisons) that inflame the gums. This inflammation is the start of periodontal disease.
Teeth polishing: Remove stain and plaque that is not otherwise removed during tooth brushing and scaling.
Dental education: Educate patients on proper oral hygiene techniques to maintain healthy teeth and gums, Counsel patients about plaque control and developing individualized at-home oral hygiene programs
Prevention helps avoid serious and costly dental problems and is the key to having a healthy, confident, beautiful smile.