One of the people you’ll see most (at least twice a year at your teeth cleaning exam!) at your dentist’s office is your dental hygienist. These dental professionals are trained to not only clean your teeth, but to help you achieve your personal best oral health and hygiene.
5 Common Questions a Dental Hygienist Hears
We love our dental hygienists. They’re an integral part of our dental team, and they bring serious knowledge about our patients and their care to the table. Plus, they often get to know our patients on a deeper level than many of our other staff members. Not only do they get to have regular conversations with our patients, they also field common questions about a patient’s oral care.
Here are five of the most common questions our dental hygienists hear.
1. How can I improve my overall oral health?
This is a great question to ask your dental hygienist, even if you have good oral hygiene habits. Your dental hygienist may be able to give you even more tricks and tips to improve your oral hygiene routine, or they can point out spots that you seem to be missing.
For example, a common issue dental hygienists notice is that many patients brush less on one side of their mouth than the other, depending on if they are right or left handed. They might be able to recommend a toothbrush that has a built in timer so you’re spending equal amounts of time in each quadrant of the mouth. Or they may notice that your gums near your front teeth seem healthy, but are puffier near your back teeth. They can recommend spending extra time flossing back teeth and molars, so you have full mouth health.
2. How can I make my teeth whiter?
Dental hygienists always notice if patients are drinking lots of tea, coffee or wine, or if they are smoking. All of these things will contribute to teeth that appear dull or stained. Getting your teeth whiter might start with limiting high-stain food and drinks, or taking extra care to brush and floss right after your morning cup of coffee.
They also might be able to recommend in office teeth whitening that you can complete at your next appointment. Or, you might have already discussed some options with your dentist at a previous appointments, and can recommend that it’s time to speak to the doctor in more depth about dental veneers. Since they are familiar with your oral health and history, they can be an invaluable team member when considering your options.
3. Do I have gum disease?
Dental hygienists are the first dental professionals to spot gum disease and, along with your dentist, develop and execute a gum disease treatment plan. For mild gum disease like gingivitis, they’ll start with a thorough cleaning, and send you home with instructions for care. Most patients can reverse gingivitis in a week or two with special attention to their home oral care routine.
For moderate to severe gum disease, your dental hygienist will be a key player in your treatment plan. You may move from seeing your dental hygienist twice a year to once a quarter (or more) for deep cleaning appointments. So if you’re not sure if you have gum disease or not, ask your dental hygienist. They’ll be able to tell you if you have it, how severe it is and what the most likely course of treatment your dentist will recommend.
4. Why are my teeth so sensitive?
If you’re regularly sensitive to hot or cold foods, or have very recently developed tooth sensitivity, ask your dental hygienist. They are trained to be able to make recommendations for regular sensitivity (like switching toothpastes), and can spot issues that might be causing new sensitivities, like cavities.
They’re also able to tell when sensitivity is due to brushing too hard or to gum recession. They can recommend a better brushing technique or alert the dentist to your receding gums. Either way, they’ll work with you and your dentist to make sure that you don’t have to suffer long term with sensitive teeth.
5. Should I be using mouthwash and/or other dental hygiene tools and techniques?
One of the final most common questions our dental hygienists hear is about other things patients should be adding to their oral care routines. Many patients wonder if they should add mouthwash to their care routine, or if an electric toothbrush will be better for their brushing.
Most dental hygienists will recommend adding mouthwash to your routine. Mouthwash can be a great added benefit, since different types can help with different issues. There are mouthwashes specifically formulated to give fresh breath, to help with gum disease or gingivitis, to provide whitening benefits or to even help with tooth sensitivity. Your dental hygienist can recommend one that works best for you and your overall oral care.
They can also recommend other tools that can help with your oral care, like electric toothbrushes, or a toothbrush with softer bristles. If you’re having trouble flossing, they can recommend the right type of floss for you or which type of flosser or floss threader you can use.
Bottom line: your dental hygienist is an important part of your oral care team. They’ll happily answer your questions to help you reach your best oral health, and can also be a great advocate and support when you talk to your dentist about treatments. So feel free to ask these questions and others the next time you see your dental hygienist. They’ll be glad to help you get the answers you need.
Remember: The above information is to be used as general guidelines and you should not use this information to diagnose yourself. If you are concerned about your teeth, you should contact our Clintonville, Ohio dentists for a thorough dental exam.
Dental Hygiene and Teeth Cleaning Exams in Columbus Ohio
We are proud to offer professional dentistry and teeth cleaning exams to our patients in Central Ohio. Our friendly and knowledgeable dental hygienists are a key part of your dental care team. Contact us today to learn more!