It’s a vulnerable position to lay back, mouth open, completely unaware of what the dental hygienist is seeing in your mouth. Like the fear of swimming in deep water, our minds can create issues that make us more nervous than we need to be. So, what is your hygienist really looking for? What can they see with that little mirror that you can’t? Let’s take a look behind the scenes and find out what your hygienist is really looking for. Chances are good you will be a lot less nervous once you know.
So what does your dental hygienist really look for during your checkup at our dental office in Sugar Land, TX?
Comfort and Overall Health are Number One
Any good hygienist will tell you that the first thing they look for during a checkup is the comfort of the patient. They want you to feel safe, relaxed, and listened to. Your hygienist will likely begin your appointment asking questions about your family or job, then move into asking about your current health concerns. Your hygienist needs to get a clear picture of your overall physical wellness, medication use, stress levels, and levels of dental anxiety in order to provide the best care possible. Your hygienist may take some basic vitals like blood pressure and pulse and update any of your health history paperwork. Your oral health is intricately connected to your overall health and your dental providers need as much information as possible to provide excellent treatment.
Inflammation and Abnormalities
We are all self-conscious when sitting in the dental chair. We tell ourselves our mouth is the dirtiest, smelliest, weirdest mouth the hygienist has ever seen— and it’s their job to judge us for it. This couldn’t be further from the truth. The truth is, our hygienists are looking for any signs of inflammation or changes in our soft tissues. Inflamed gums can be an early warning sign of gum disease and abnormal lesions or bumps always warrant a closer look. Dental hygienists are our first line of defense against oral cancer. A hygienist’s job is not to judge you, but to notice abnormalities or changes in your oral health so you can be proactive and stay healthy.
Are Your Homecare Strategies Working?
Raise your hand if you’ve ever lied to your hygienist about how much you floss. It’s totally normal, and spoiler alert, they know you are not being truthful. However, they don’t ask the question to put you on the spot, what they are really looking for is weather or not your current home hygiene routine is working, or if you need to brainstorm other strategies. If you aren’t remembering to floss, they can suggest options like flossing in the shower or car on the way to work that may be easier for you. If they see excessive staining on your teeth, they may suggest drinking dark soda, coffee, and tea through a straw to minimize contact with your teeth. If you are consistently getting cavities, they may ask you to keep a diet journal and suggest eating 3 larger meals a day versus 6 small meals.
It’s important to remember that your dental hygienist is on your team. They want the best treatment outcomes and to help coach you through a lifetime of great oral wellness. Also, if you don’t understand what your hygienist is saying, or want to know what they are seeing, ask! Dental hygienists are more than teeth-cleaners, they are oral health and wellness educators.
Why Should I Schedule With Your Sugar Land Dentist?
With over 15 years of experience under her belt, Dr. Karishma Sheth brings to you biological dentistry with gentle hands and a very caring approach. As a certified biological dentist, she puts wellness and comfort above all else. Attention to detail and high-quality dentistry are her utmost priority in ensuring her patients receive the care they deserve.
Dr. Sheth earned her bachelor’s degree from The University of Arizona, Tucson and her dental degree from University of California, San Francisco. Dr. Sheth furthered her education by completing a residency at the University of Texas, Houston. Since then, she is a strong proponent of staying on the forefront of advances in dentistry. As a result, she has over 1000 hours in post graduate advanced continuing education and has earned her fellowship with the Academy of General Dentistry. She has also earned her fellowship with the prestigious International Congress of Oral Implantologists.
Quick weekend safari trips were no big trek for Dr. Sheth as she was born and raised in Nairobi, Kenya! She is multilingual and fluent in 4 languages. Dr. Sheth is a proud mother of two girls and when she is not hard at work, she loves to spend time with her husband and their daughters, making memories and living each moment to the fullest.