Did you know that a dental cleaning is much more than plaque removal and a polish? In fact, a visit to your dental hygienist can play a large role in your overall health, as well as your dental wellness.
Let’s examine how a visit to your dental hygienist plays an important part in your oral & overall health.
A Visit to Your Dental Hygienist Keeps Your Mouth Healthy in Ways You May Not Realize
Although it’s no surprise that a dental cleaning is good for your mouth, there are many things your dental hygienist and dentist are doing during your cleaning that you might not be aware of.
We wanted to share some of the details here because we’ve found many people either cancel or fail to even make an appointment with their dental hygienist because of one predominant reason: they feel their teeth are “fine,” because they’re not currently experiencing pain, discomfort, or a noticing a large amount of plaque or tarter buildup on their teeth.
But unless you’re a dental hygienist or dentist, there’s no way you can perform all of the diagnostic, preventative and educational services that go into a “routine” dental cleaning. Here’s a list of some of the things your dental hygienist and dentist are working on at your appointment.
Your dental hygienist helps identify oral health problems.
These include updating your medical history, noting any conditions that may have an impact on your oral health. Depending on your medical and family history, we may perform a free oral cancer screening. We’ll also check for any signs of periodontal disease, and ask if you’ve been having any issues like teeth grinding, headaches or TMJ. Of course we’ll also be checking your teeth to make sure there’s no cavities, or tooth decay that could lead to a cavity, and we’ll also take X-rays if necessary. Since most of our patients see us more often than they see their primary care physician, your dental cleaning may be the only chance to identify a health issue that needs further attention (more on this shortly).
Your dental hygienist can prevent future smile health problems.
This includes removal of plaque and/or tartar, as well as fluoride application, polishing teeth, stain removal, sealants (for children) and the cleaning or adjusting of dentures. Without these simple preventative measures, issues that are easily avoidable may manifest because of lack of care.
Your dental hygienist provides valuable health education insights.
At First Choice Dental, we don’t believe in lecturing our patients. But we do believe in making sure each of our patients has the information they need for oral and overall health. The educational component of our care includes answering any questions a patient may have, and also covers topics like how to brush properly, nutritional information that may affect oral health and more. For instance, did you know a 45 degree angle does a better job of removing plaque off the gum line than simply brushing up and down?
A Visit to Your Dental Hygienist Can Help Detect Serious Health Issues
Did you know that a significant number of health issues have an oral component? Although a visit to your dental hygienist and dentist won’t replace a medical examination, we may be able to identify changes in a patient’s dental health that indicates a more serious health problem.
A few examples include:
- Diabetes, the possibility of which may be identified by severe pocketing of the gums
- Heart Disease, which can be aggravated by unmanaged periodontal disease
- Oral Cancer, often identified by lesions in the mouth
- Kidney Disease, with symptoms including bad breath, an unpleasant or metallic taste in the mouth, and/or dry mouth.
- Anxiety & Stress, which can have a direct affect on your oral health, making you more susceptible to periodontal disease and gum infection. Not to mention stress-induced teeth grinding!
The screenings provided at your dental hygiene visit and dental exam may also point to risk factors for thyroid problems, asthma, high blood pressure, sleep disorders and digestive disorders, to name a few. As a valuable member of your overall health care team, your dental hygienist and dentist can alert you to overall health issues that may warrant further examination. If your hygienist and dentist notice any health issues that need attention, they will talk with you about next steps, which typically will include visiting a medical provider.
Everybody’s Favorite Part of a Dental Cleaning
On a lighter note, can you guess what most patient’s like best about a visit to their dental hygienist? Getting to pick out their new tooth brush, of course! And if you’re seeing a First Choice hygienist and dentist, you’re probably looking forward to their authentic smiles and comfort-conscious™ care.
Need to schedule an appointment with a dental hygienist?
If you need a dental cleaning, please visit First Choice Dental’s Appointments page to choose a location that’s convenient for you. Once you pick a location, you can make your appointment by phone or online.
Thanks for visiting First Choice Dental. Here’s to your health!