Typically, when one goes to the dentist, they will see a hygienist first, especially when they are an adult. It’s often a bit of a big change from when they went to see a child dentist and only saw them.
Now, the hygienist will inspect and clean the patient’s teeth and put a polish on followed by a final look-over by the dentist before the appointment concludes. But what is the hygienist looking for?
Here are some of the things that are on the hygienist’s checklist as they look at the patient’s mouth:
Damage to Gums
Gums can become damaged for a variety of reasons, including not brushing or flossing enough – or conversely, brushing and flossing too much or too hard. The second one tends to occur when the patient realizes they have been too lax with their routine and try to make up for it in the days before their appointment. Hygienists are never fooled by this.
Inflammation of the gums can also be a sign of gum disease and may warrant periodontal treatment. They look for discoloration or any receding of the gums. They will also bring this to the attention of the dentist.
Signs of Tooth Decay
Enamel acts as the barrier between food and drink and the teeth. When that gets worn down, decay can occur. The hygienist will see this as black spots on the tooth, either visually or via X-ray. Decay can wind up rapidly worsening, so action will need to be taken.
The dentist will clean out the decay and put in a filling. That doesn’t mean that the tooth is automatically safe from any other damage. Decay can occur around the filling. The patient needs to maintain a rigorous brushing and flossing routine.
While abscesses, which are white or red spots on the cheek,gums, or lips, usually announce themselves with pain or discomfort, that’s not always the case. Sometimes the hygienist will notice it during a routine check-up. This can happen when there is an injury or an infection in the mouth.
The dentist or hygienist may need to pinpoint what the underlying cause is before then adressing the abscess, which may require medicated mouthwash.
The hygienist will also be on the lookout for any other noticeable changes in the patient’s mouth and do a screening for oral cancer. Communication is a very important trait for someone in this position. They will see patients with teeth in a wide variety of conditions and they must be able to tell each one proper technique in a way that is tailored for each unique patient.
Dr. Shaista Najmi and her staff at Ivory Dental Jacksonville will work closely to ensure that their patients have the best oral health possible. They will look for all of these in each person and rectify any issues speedily. Give them a call today to make an appointment!