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Too gentle, too rough

Most of my patients tell me they appreciate my gentle but thorough cleaning but every now and then I get a patient (usually 50+ years old) who complains to the dentist that they didn’t feel my cleaning was “thorough” enough. I know my cleaning is thorough but why do I still feel bad?



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6 Answers

Most aren’t used to the ultrasonic / Piezo. They think all the noisy hand instruments and tissue tearing is a better cleaning. Just ask questions and sometimes they just need to hear more noise with the hand instruments…….that’s what I’ve experienced.

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Thanks for your response. What kind of questions should I ask? I’m still under the impression that most of my patients want a gentle cleaning.

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All patients want a gentle cleaning…..some just think the noise of heavy handed curette blade is really cleaning stuff off well! ….when you can take that blade a make it sound like you are really removing calculus off the teeth when there is nothing there. Been there and done that and pt said that was the cleanest he’s ever felt……really? It’s all in their heads sometimes.
I’ll ask if they have ever had the ultrasonic used on them…usually No…so I explain that the ultrasonic sprays water and makes screechy noises and vibrates all the soft deposit, hard deposit and stain off of the teeth. The ultrasound waves with the bubbling action of the water kill bacteria and that using hand instruments alone only moves the bacteria around from tooth to tooth and that I’d rather kill the bacteria than move it around the mouth. Wouldn’t you? YES. The specialized ultrasonic inserts are small and cause less tissue trauma than the cutting edge blade on hand instruments. I still use my hand instruments after the ultrasonic, but I will not be “scraping” as much like you’ve had in the past.
A patient just the other day said she never has it used on her and she actually likes it better than all the pain and bleeding caused by that scraping.

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Thanks for the details; it’s so very helpful to hear it from another hygienist’s perspective/experience!

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I’ve had to say to pt’s who say that, “I can do it gently or roughly but I promise you will be clean by the time I’m done.” I then tell them I’d prefer to be gentle since I would hate to cause undue pain. But if they insist I will be a little more firm and make them think I am doing a “better” cleaning. Generally you don’t have to ask the pt, do what you are trained to do & the pts that are going to comment will, then just deal with them case by case.

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I appreciate your comment; I love this forum!

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