What should I expect at my first dental hygiene visit?

Many new patients that enter into our office need more than “just a cleaning”. At a typical dental hygiene visit, you can expect us to do several things that include the following:

  • Perform a thorough gum and periodontal evaluation
  • Screen for decay with x-rays and the diagnodent (our cavity detecting laser)
  • Effectively and comfortably clean your teeth with hand and/or microsonic scaling instruments.
  • Polish superficial stain, floss, and apply a fluoride treatment to protect enamel.
  • Instruct you on how to care for your teeth and gums at home.
  • Determine frequency of visits and if repetitive therapy is needed to treat periodontal infection.

What is gum disease and how do you know if you have it?
Statistics show 90-95% of the population is in some state of gum disease. The Medical Center Dental Group’s motto is “healthy gums don’t bleed”; however, most patients admit that their gums have always bled when they have their teeth cleaned. In the past, bleeding gums was more acceptable and pretty much every patient was put on a six-month interval of having their teeth cleaned. Fortunately, the standard of care has changed, and we now know that this condition is not acceptable. We treat each patient as an individual. Some people may come two, three, four, or even five times a year for their dental hygiene visits to maintain a healthy mouth. And this interval can change as things in someone’s life changes, such as diet, health, stress level, systemic conditions, etc. We treat the patient the same way we would want to be treated ourselves. For this reason, we access our patients at each and every visit to determine if their treatment plan is working for them as an individual. At The Medical Center Dental Group, we want our patients to get their maximum benefits from their insurance; however, we will not jeopardize providing the highest level of care. Our philosophy is to treat the patient with their best interest in mind, rather than be mandated by the insurance companies that have no dental expertise.

Good periodontal health means
good general health.

  • Periodontal bacteria can travel in the bloodstream and cause infections to major organs.
  • Research indicates that periodontal infection can increase your risk for coronary heart disease, infective endocarditis, and stroke.
  • Uncontrolled diabetics are at a greater risk for developing periodontal infection. Diabetes lowers your body’s ability to fight infection and can cause dry mouth.
  • There is a link between periodontal infection and respiratory infections like pneumonia, bronchitis, emphysema, and chronic obstructive pulmonary disease. If you have periodontal disease, you may be inhaling harmful bacteria.
  • Healthy gums are especially important if you are pregnant. During pregnancy, your body produces higher levels of hormones. Your gums may react strongly to these hormones causing some to develop “pregnancy gingivitis”. This is a condition that causes swollen, red, and tender gums that may bleed when brushing or flossing.
  • There is also the risk of having a pre-term, low birth weight baby in women with even mild periodontal infection. During pregnancy, the level of prostaglandins increases, and then peaks then in labor. Extra prostaglandins are produced in response to gum infection and your body may interpret this as a signal to go into labor.

Information for Our Patients:

Learn more about dental hygiene and periodontal disease by visiting the video gallery, here.