What Happens at a Hygienist Appointment?

Posted December 1, 2022 by in Health + Fitness
woman at dental hygienist office

Most people visit their dentist around every 6-12 months depending on their unique dental needs to ensure the general overall health of their teeth and gums. But, in addition to regular dentist visits, it is also recommended that patients attend hygienist appointments as an integral part of maintaining oral health. Visiting a hygienist is extremely beneficial, yet despite this so many patients put off seeing them or fail to follow through at the detriment of their teeth and gums.

We spoke to an expert dentist in Chelmsford to find out exactly what you can expect from a hygienist appointment.

woman getting dental work done

What Is a Hygienist and What Do They Do?

A hygienist is a dental care professional who focuses on the preventative treatment of tooth decay and oral diseases such as gum disease. Using their specialist skills, tools, techniques, and equipment, they work to remove plaque and bacteria from your teeth and assess for any signs of potential issues.

When You Arrive

If it is your first hygienist appointment or you haven’t had one in a while, then your hygienist will likely start with a review of your dental history. This may involve asking you questions about your general oral health including any medications you are on, whether you smoke and your current oral hygiene regime. This is also your chance to tell them any concerns you may have about your teeth or gums.


The hygienist will have a look and a feel of your head and neck region as well as the inside your mouth at your teeth, gums and soft tissues to assess their health. They will be looking for irregularities, signs of gum disease, bleeding, the health of your tooth enamel and which areas have the most plaque build-up. Following this they will discuss any findings with you and explain what is going to follow.


This will typically involve a professional tooth cleaning, commonly referred to as a ‘scale and polish’ which is much more than what you can do at home with a toothbrush. The hygienist will use a sonic scaler tool to gently remove debris from the root surface, ridding them of hard tartar and plaque build-up. 

Using a gentle abrasive polishing compound, the teeth are then air polished to remove staining and leave them feeling smooth and more resistant to plaque. They will also floss between the teeth to help remove any remaining plaque or food particles and help check that there is nothing still lurking there.


Based on their assessment, your overall oral health and if anything was found which needs following up, your hygienist will likely want to talk you through some things you should do to help prevent issues like gum disease and tooth decay. This can include the type of brush you use, the frequency with which you are changing your toothbrush or it’s heads, flossing, mouthwash, diet, social habits, and the most efficient brushing techniques. 

Book Your Next Appointment

It is recommended that you visit your hygienist around every 6 months or so but if you are undergoing certain dental treatments or your oral health needs to be watched more closely then you may be advised visit more regularly.