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Questions for my dental hygienist

I want to ask my dental hygienist some of the following questions, but I don’t know how she would answer. If I were your patient and asked you these questions, how would you answer?
1. Can I have a pair of new gloves?
2. Can I have a mask?
3. Do you have any pink gloves you can use?
4. Will you only use your finger to hold back my cheek and not a mirror?
5. Can I be surprised with the prophy paste flavor?
6. Will you check my TMJ?
8. What brand of gloves do you have on?
9. Will you floss my bonded retainer?
10. Will you massage my gums?
11. Will you not use the ultrasonic scaler on me?
14. Can I take your picture?
15. Will examine my mouth for oral cancer?
16. Would it be appropriate to ask her to close the door to the hygiene room?
17.My lips are dry, will you put Vaseline on them?
18.Will you check my pocket depths? (She does not do this)

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3 Answers

Would you like the new gloves and mask to take with you? If so, sure, you can have those.
I don’t have any pink gloves, but I do have purple.
I will use my finger to retract your cheek where possible, but there are places I need to mirror to see what I am doing.
Sure, I will surprise you with the prophy paste flavor.
Yes, I will check your TMJ, has it been hurting or popping?
I use gloves that are safety rated for infection control.
Of course I will floss your lingual bonded retainer, that is a part of the cleaning.
My cleaning your teeth does massage your gums in a way.
Why do you not like the ultrasonic scaler? It has many benefits and is it okay if I use it where I feel it would be most beneficial?
Sure, you can take my picture, but please don’t post it on any public forums.
I always do a soft tissue/oral cancer screening with every patient I see.
I would not be comfortable with the door closed to the treatment room.
Sure, I will put some Vaseline on your lips, let me know if they dry out and you need more.
Of course I will be checking your pocket depths to check for the health of your gums and the supporting bone, this is a part of the cleaning.

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Here’s how I would answer the questions:
Yes you can have a new pair gloves and mask to take w/ you, however I only have blue gloves. I’m unsure of the exact brand but they are high quality gloves that approved for infection control. What size gloves do you wear ? And I’m sorry I don’t have pink ones, however if you really really want some pink ones they do sell them online. Unforunately I will have to use my mirror in a few places to see but I will be as gentle w/ it as possible, and use my fingers in the areas that I can. As for the prophy paste I’m sorry I don’t have very many flavors currently to surprise you (3 flavors) but sure I will try to surprise you. Please don’t get upset if you dislike the flavor I picked though. Of course I will check your TMJ are you having issues w/ it, are you grinding your teeth? Do you mind if I take pano to check the joint? It’s quick & easy. I will definitely floss your lingual bar, I understand you would like me to not use the ultrasonic scaler. Is there a reason why ? Would you mind if I use it around your lingual bar I promise to put it on the lowest setting as possible and use it minimally if it hurts please don’t be afraid to tell me.( As for the taking pics of me honestly I can’t answer this question without knowing why, or assessing the situation. Only because of the fact I have had a few strange pts one of which was a bit stalkerish, sorry I have to protect myself too). Of course I’ll do your Oral cancer screening I do one everytime with a visual exam however I also have the velscope which is way more advanced and let’s me see the changes at a cellular level, I can definitely do that for you and it takes no time at all. I’m sorry but my room does not have a door but if it did I’m sorry I can not close it, this is for both our protection. Absolutely I will check your gums, I actually check them every visit. I’m assuming your last hygienist did not?

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All of the above. Except……I will only place Vaseline in the corners until I’m finished scaling. The Vaseline makes my fingers very slippery…….I don’t want to slip off and hurt your gums. I always have Vaseline with my set up and will always offer it to you. I will also offer you a complimentary manicure or pedicure while you are here for your hygiene appt. I also use the ultrasonic on a very low setting and stay away from recession areas. Ultrasonic if used correctly should not hurt. In fact, it should be more comfortable compared to hand instruments. Hand instruments cause more tissue trauma (cutting). Ultrasonic uses water and the bubbling action of water with ultrasound waves kill bacteria. Hand scaling just moves bacteria around from place to place. I’d rather kill the bacteria. Most hygienists care about our patients being comfortable. Most hygienist ask you questions during our procedures to make sure you are comfortable. We bend our bodies in awkward positions in order for the patient to be comfortable. Our bodies are very sore from static postures from working all day. We have many musculoskeletal traumas from holding the cheeks and tongue in order to see properly. Our hands fall asleep, our necks and shoulders have painful knots of muscle from repetitive stress. We need you to help us with the correct positioning of your chair and our chair in relation to your mouth and still try to maintain correct ergonomic positions to try to help relieve our pain. Try dry brushing your teeth until your teeth taste and feel clean at least twice daily and the other two brushing a use a good sensitive tooth paste. Try to keep your mouth as healthy as possible which will shorten the length of your hygiene visit. You will be much more comfortable when you floss several times daily and brush as instructed a few sentences ago. Healthy mouth should only take 20 minutes to clean besides all the perio charting, BP, oral cancer screening etc……whole appt with doctor exam is an hour or less unless you do not do your part in home care. It will hurt and take us forever. Hope this helps you.

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