ThinkingOur dentists and staff work hard to provide optimum care for our patients. The efforts of our Waco dentist office don’t start when the day begins, though. For years prior to working with patients in a dental practice, our team members earned necessary degrees and certifications to serve you well. Let’s explore what, exactly, a dental hygienist does. In this article, Waco dentist Dr. Corbet Locke explains what you should expect to see when you encounter our hygienists during your next appointment.

Duties of Dental Hygienists

In an office like Dr. Locke’s, where patients receive preventive, cosmetic, and implant dentistry care, you might wonder who will do what during your visit. Dental hygienists may handle patient documents and take dental x-rays. You might also meet hygienists when learning about caring for teeth before you leave the dentist office. In addition to providing patient education, you will typically find hygienists conducting dental cleanings and treating gum disease. After examining teeth and gums, the hygienist assesses the state of your mouth and determines what type of cleaning you need. In the absence of gum disease, a regular cleaning takes just under an hour. Should the hygienist not a gum pocket depth greater than .3mm, a deep cleaning may be recommended. Gum disease is a chronic condition that must be addressed by a professional. A deep cleaning is a first step.

Periodontal Therapy

When gum disease develops, as it does in nearly 80{dcbe0cd52ce35e2f156887e14605e24111ce99c14f01d3853732956d43020bdd} of the US population, bacteria from plaque buildup and food particles stuck between teeth irritate and weaken gums. Eventually, infection causes gums separate from teeth, and periodontal pockets form. Plaque and bacteria settle into these areas, and bacteria breed rapidly, worsening gum infection. Hygienists provide deep cleanings to stop gum disease from advancing further. If you visit your dentist for gum disease treatment, you may experience root planing and scaling, during which a hygienist cleans teeth down to their roots. After clearing periodontal pockets of excessive bacteria and plaque, gums should heal as the process of gum disease reverses.

Schedule an Appointment with Your Waco Dentist

See for yourself what our dental hygienists do at our 76712 dental office. Our skilled staff provides excellent dental care for patients in need of teeth cleaning, gum disease treatment, or dental implants. Call (254) 776-4888 to schedule an appointment. We welcome patients from Waco, Woodway, McGregor, Hewitt, and surrounding communities.