A single visit with your dental hygienist is composed of various phases, known as the Process of Care. The Dental Hygiene Process of Care is comprised of the Assessment, Dental Hygiene Diagnosis, Planning, Implementation and Evaluation phases. Each phase is a key component of the overall treatment.
The Assessment Phase is one where data is collected. For example, a clienta��s medical history is recorded or updated, to include prescribed and over-the-counter medications being taken, dental history, recent surgeries, medical conditions and vitals. A cancer screening (known as an intra/extra oral examination) is also conducted. Orientation and structure of teeth (hard tissue) is captured on an odontogram. Plaque and calculus deposits are noted, as well as the overall health of the soft tissue, determined both visually, using disclosing solution and measured using a periodontal probe. Nutritional assessments can also be part of the Assessment Phase, linking nutritional intake to potential risk for caries (cavities).
Once all elements of the Assessment Phase have been gathered, the dental hygienist has the information to move on to the next phase of treatment, which is the Dental Hygiene Diagnosis. In this phase, in discussion with the client, client needs and priorities are documented and goals are set to meet these needs.
Stay tuned for the description of the Dental Hygiene Diagnosis to follow in the next blog! Visits to your dental hygienist are not just a matter of getting your teeth cleaned; ita��s important to understand the basis for why dental hygienists do what they do when you visit them on a regular basis.