Ignorance is bliss people! A bad thing about being a hygienist is that I’m very picky with my dentist. There’s nothing personal, I know that she’s treating me like just any other patient but when I go have my regular 6 monthly PC & SP I feel like I could have done a better job. But then again, I need to remind myself that dentists just don’t do S&P’s like a hygienist
So why don’t I just go see a hygienist instead?
Well, the main reason is that my dentist doesn’t have a hygienist and I don’t want to change dentists. Changing dentists are a pain in the ass because it’s like a relationship, you have to start from scratch and build it up over time. I think it’ll just feel weird having a stranger looking in my mouth…. And yes I realise that when I’m at work, that is exactly what I do.
Another reason is that hygienists use hand scalers more than dentists. For a typical patient, dentists usually only use the ultrasonic scaler but a hygienist will use the ultrasonic as well as hand scalers (which is why we take more time). Scalers are sharp, and they can hurt bad if used incorrectly. And since I am privileged to certain information, I have trust issues when it comes to people working in my mouth
~ I’ve always wished I could give myself a S&P~!
Anyway, what exactly is a Scale and Polish?
Scale & Polish is interchangable with Scale & Clean. In layman’s terms it’s when you get your teeth cleaned at the dentist, but I hate using the term “clean” because people ‘clean’ their teeth everyday (or so I hope!). Scaling is when we debride (remove) the calculus (tartar) from your teeth. Polish is exactly that, we polish up your teeth, remove stains with a bit of prophy paste.
So as I was getting my PC & SP, I couldn’t help but follow along in my mind what my dentist was doing. Charting, perio probing, maybe she could have spent a little more time checking for decay, scaling (U/S and a couple of strokes with the H/S), yiKes! Watch the waterworks, prophying, uh.. there’s a tiny speck on the 23 distal~! , flouride, done. At the end of it I kind of felt bad for my patients, did I treat them like just another set of teeth?
That thought didn’t last long, a job is a job after all.