Hygiene at the initial appointment?

It is our belief that we better serve our patients by recognizing a hygiene appointment to be one of treatment. The type of treatment our hygienists provide is either one of prevention, or one of therapy to treat inflammation, an actual state of disease. Besides not being licensed to diagnose, how could our administrative staff be able to know what type of therapy a new patient needs by phone or internet? We trust in the sequence of relationship, examination, diagnosis, treatment planning, consultation and only then treatment. We believe in taking enough time to do a good job.

Outside of children and adolescents, we do not see it as appropriate to have our patients’ teeth and soft tissue “cleaned” at the initial appointment. Our adult new patients come in with all levels of gum health or disease. These various levels of health or disease properly require proportionate levels of care.   Factor in, as well, how any given patient these days might choose to influence their plan of care with such topics as local anesthesia or sedation. Proper planning is important.

Some entering patients have had such negative experiences with hygiene that local anesthesia is preferred, with or without sedation. This is one of the most frequently benefited topics for a more comfortable delivery of our services. This entire discovery and consultation process can occur promptly enough. Most often, our better informed patient is scheduled for the correct level of hygiene care in only a few days.

During the exam, each patient will be shown the landmarks of gum pocket measurement and share in establishing their periodontal health status. While most adults just need prevention, about 25% require soft tissue or periodontal maintenance, while another 5-10% are better situated by being referred to a periodontist. This referral obviously needs close discussion with a lot of patient input. From our instruction, offered in the demonstration concerning pocket depths between their teeth and gums, our patients are better able to comprehend and make decisions. This elevation of our patient’s dental I.Q. will go further in maintaining periodontal health over their lifetime than any one, initial appointment cleaning.