As a dental hygienist, you will be responsible for educating patients and the community on dental hygiene. Most of your work will be done in the hygiene room. Other than oral health education, hygiene rooms are also used for treatment, gathering of patient history, and examination of periodontal health, oral soft tissue structures, and dentition status to understand the severity or progress of the problem.

Examinations are important because the dentist and other dental health professionals will use the results for diagnosis and treatment recommendations. You will, therefore, need to document everything you do in the hygiene room.

Given the sheer amount of things you have to do in the hygiene room, it is important that you have a structured method of doing things – a checklist. Below is what should be included on your examination report and that should form the basis of your checklist.

1. Overbite:

Also called deep bite, this occurs when the patient’s upper front teeth bite down over the lower teeth. In severe cases, the upper teeth bite so deep that they completely cover the lower teeth, forcing the lower teeth to rest on the palate. The problem is caused by a discrepancy in the jaw size. Freddie Mercury is a famous celebrity who had an overbite problem.

2. Underbite:

This is the opposite of an overbite, where the lower teeth extend past the upper teeth due to an undergrowth of the upper jaw or the overgrowth of the lower jaw.

3. Overjet:

Overjet, also called a protrusion, is a dental problem where the patient’s lower teeth don’t extend forward enough or the upper teeth are extending too far forward. This is caused by improper jaw development, genetics, improper molar alignment, or missing lower teeth.

4. Crossbite:

This occurs when 1 or more upper teeth, instead of biting the outside of the lower teeth, bite the inside. The most common cause for this is upper and lower jaw misalignment.

5. Crowding:

This occurs where there is not enough space on the jaws for teeth to fit naturally. This occurs when the jaw is too small or when the teeth are too big. It may be necessary to remove some teeth as a solution or to use a palatal expander (or surgery) to alter the size of the jaw.

6. Abnormal eruption:

This is where a tooth is emerging from the gum in the wrong place.

7. Excessive spacing:

This occurs when some teeth do not grow or are lost through disease or trauma.

8. Open bite:

This is when the lower and upper front teeth fail to come together when biting, leading to an open space. This is often due to prolonged thumb sucking or tongue thrusting.

9. Upper and lower midline:

This is when the midline is off-center when the lips are slightly apart at rest. An upper midline is when the midline is skewed towards the top and a lower midline is when the midline is skewed towards the bottom.

10. Palate width:

This is when the palate width is outside the normal range of 36 to 38 mm. The lower the width, the higher the risk of crowding.

11. Offset canine position:

The crown of the canine should be at a certain angle to the lateral incisor’s distal contour.

12. Missing teeth:

You will note the number of teeth that are missing to allow for planning for replacement.

13. Airway obstruction:

You will check if the airway has been obstructed. Obstruction makes it difficult to breathe easily through the nose when the lips are rested. You will check for lip strain, allergies, snoring, stuffiness, adenoids, and tonsils.

Dental Hygienists School in Ontario

You should attend a dental hygienists school in Ontario that has instructors who have hands-on experience and that uses a hands-on approach so that you will have mastered dental equipment operation and examination skills by the time you get out.