The day starts off with the dental hygienist arriving 30 minutes before the first appointment is scheduled. This enables the hygienist to review all the patients’ medical charts for the day. Usually you are looking to see if this is a routine preventive appointment, or if a patient has active gum disease. They also need to know when the patient was last in the office and what treatments were performed.

Preparation of the medical room

Once this has been done, the next task is to prepare the medical room. This consists of wiping down all the surfaces with disinfection. Then all the instruments must be disinfected including the polishing tools as well as sealants and fluoride that are used to clean the teeth. The X-ray equipment including the lead aprons should also be disinfected. It is a good idea to check your room supplies such as disposables, to make sure you don’t run out while you are in the middle of a treatment.

Make patient comfortable and review health changes

When all the above has been completed the first patient of the day can come in. Patients can be extremely nervous about visiting the dentist and hygienist, especially if they are young children. It is a good idea to make them feel more comfortable by asking them about what is happening in their life or family. They will then need to review with them any health changes since their last visit. This will include any new medications as these can affect their oral health. They would then ask the patient if they have any concerns regarding their teeth at this point.


The scaling is then performed either by manual scaling, ultrasonic scaling or combined. In addition to the scaling, polishing the teeth and fluorine can be given. If the patient needs an X-ray, then this would be carried out also by the hygienist. It is also very important that the hygienist instructs the patient on oral care such as brushing tips and flossing.


If the hygienist feels that the patient needs to see the dentist at this point either an appointment will be made or the dentist appointment may have been scheduled at the same time. The dentist will examine the patient’s teeth and then will meet with the hygienist to discuss any issues. The hygienist will then discuss with the patient any additional treatments that may be needed at this point.

After the appointment the hygienist will disinfect the treatment room and all equipment again before the next patient is seen.