Everyone’s favorite dental appointment is their hygiene visit because they get to walk away confident with their brightly polished teeth and fresh-smelling breath, but while the appointment may seem like a breeze, there is actually a lot happening that is imperative to maintaining your long-term dental health. Your hygiene appointment is arguably the most important dental visit you will have, which is why Dr. Knabe will always be at this appointment. Read on to learn more about what is going on behind the scenes while you are getting some ME time relaxing in the chair.
Things that happen at the hygiene appointment:
Health Update: Many things other than hygiene habits can impact your dental health, so Dr. Knabe will talk with you about medical changes, medications, or diet changes that could be affecting your teeth.
Evaluation of Teeth: At the appointment every tooth is checked for signs of decay or damage either through a visual exam or with the help of digital x-rays. If there are any issues, identifying them early is imperative to keeping the treatment to resolve them easier and cheaper.
Evaluation of Gum Tissue: You might think Dr. Knabe is rating the cuteness of your gum tissue as she calls out numbers while checking them out, but she is really indicating how far the gum tissue has pulled away from a tooth or how far the gum tissue has receded on a tooth. In this case, low numbers are best and high numbers are cause for concern.
Removal of Plaque and Tartar: Build-up on teeth can cause cavities, gingivitis, bad breath and periodontal disease. It is important to remove it before it hardens on the teeth(calculus) or gets trapped under the gum-line which then requires a more extensive procedure to remove.
Oral Cancer Screening: A visual oral cancer screening is always done, but now we also offer an additional Velscope screening that can detect signs of oral cancer before it is visible to the naked eye. Catching oral cancer at the earliest stage increases the survival rate by 80%. We recommend this for every patient at least once a year.
Polish: This is the part most people focus on since it gives us that smooth and sparkly smile. Polishing further removes plaque, diminishes stains, and smooths restorations. If you feel you need an additional cosmetic boost, ask about whitening because you will get the best results soon after a professional dental cleaning.
Determining an Appropriate Schedule for Follow-ups: Every patient needs their own hygiene schedule depending on factors such as how much build-up they get, how much bleeding they have, how deep their periodontal pockets are, and their history of periodontal disease being present. Recommended hygiene visits typically range from 6 weeks-6months.