Visiting your dental hygienist on a regular basis is one of the most important steps you can take to maintain or improve your oral health. Here’s what you can expect from your dental hygienist:

He or she will start by reviewing your medical history with you to make sure there are no medical conditions that could influence your treatment. Your dental hygienist will also ask you about your dental history to get a sense of your dental needs and any relevant information that would help you with your dental treatment.

The next step is assessing the condition of your head and neck region, followed by your tongue, gums, teeth and other areas of your mouth. Your dental hygienist will discuss the findings and plan your dental hygiene treatment with you. Any areas of concern will be referred to your dentist or physician.

Your treatment will likely include scaling, to remove biofilm (plaque) and calculus, and root planing to smooth your root surfaces. This is done using hand instruments or a vibrating ultrasonic instrument.

Some of your teeth may then be polished to remove any remaining stains. If needed, you may receive a fluoride treatment to strengthen teeth, or other agents to desensitize them.

Based on the condition of your teeth and gums, your dental hygienist will customize an oral hygiene program for your care between visits and may advise on other matters relating to oral health, such as reducing sugar intake and smoking cessation.