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  • Writer's pictureSheen Dental

Hygienist appointments compared to general dental appointments

Have you ever wondered what the difference between a hygiene based and a general dental appointment is? Maybe you have the option to directly book hygienist Richmond appointments at our clinic Sheen Dental and you're wondering when it's appropriate to do so? Well, let's find out.

General appointments

General appointments are usually scheduled every 6 months, although they can occur more readily if there is active decay or progressive disease that requires monitoring. The assessment that occurs during this appointment is substantial, you may have heard your dentist going through teeth and reading out letters and numbers and making statements. This is a coded system that refers to each tooth and allows the dental record to be updated with any observations. This usually comes along with a healthy amount of poking, where a small metal device is used to wobble and push on teeth to check their stability and any areas of decay.

If anything comes up during the screening, the dentist is there to talk about treatment options and then treatment begins immediately. Many general appointments include fillings and general dental advice on avoiding future issues, or current blind spots in your oral health regime.

Hygiene appointments

Hygienist Richmond appointments are more focused, they will contain a brief assessment of your teeth but not the same rigour as in a general appointment. They are more like a cursory glance. Our hygienist Richmond is far more familiar with the symptoms of early decay and many other dental issues than most people. When they see something suspicious, they will note it on your medical records and will recommend you book an appointment with the dentist as soon as possible.

Appointments usually have a goal that has been set by the dentist. The most common of these is the charting of pocket depth related to the management of gum disease and the scale and polish, which is a deep cleaning procedure.

The scale and polish

When plaque is allowed to build up and is not adequately brushed away, it calcifies into a hard mass that associates very closely with the enamel, referred to as tartar. There is no method to address tartar at home without significantly affecting the underlying enamel and this is where a scale and polish comes in. The treatment is in three phases. First, the largest areas are removed using the sculpting bit on a dental drill, and the remainder that is more closely associated with the enamel is removed using abrasive discs of various sizes. The treatment is finished with a buffing tool.

Role of direct hygiene appointments

Direct appointments allow you to have access to more targeted care, rather than having to go through a dental appointment, to then be referred on, when you already know what your needs are and how they can meet. We do not allow direct access appointments to patients who have not had an introductory appointment with our dentist at the clinic. And it's important to understand that direct appointments should not be considered an alternative to general check-ups.


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