An Occlusion-Focused Hygiene Exam

During an occlusion-focused hygiene exam, there are certain things the hygienist should pinpoint. This will help them develop a deeper relationship with the patient as well.

A Hygiene + Occlusion Exam

What the hygienist should look for:

1. “Can you eat/drink cold things comfortably?”
2. Subtle wear facets – those shiny spots on the edges of teeth.
3. Chipping of the edges of teeth. Can you get the patient to line up an incisal “chip” with a sharp edge of a lower front tooth?
4. Fremitis – that subtle shimmying of an upper front tooth when you gently place your fingernail on the facial of a maxillary incisor and ask the patient to grind side-to-side and front-to-back.
5. NCCL – could that be from clenching or orthodontic expansion? Both/and?
6. Persistent marginal inflammation that could be a sign of clenching (or an imbalanced bite).

The hygienist’s role is to raise patient awareness –  to “discover” changes that can be brought to the doctor’s attention for long-term protection of the patient’s teeth.

The doctor’s arrival for an exam is the time that real skill and teamwork begins. The hygienist takes the lead and informs the doctor what they (hygienist and patient together) have been discovering/discussing.

Many times, the most significant questions come when I am behind and feeling rushed. Our goal, practiced for years, is for me to get in and out of the hygiene room in under 5 minutes. Therefore, our total goal together is to encourage the patient to schedule another appointment for a more thorough evaluation of any changes/discoveries.

The hygienist then supports and reassures the patient about the need for a more thorough understanding to protect their teeth and eating for a lifetime. They confirm the uniqueness of a full understanding of teeth, harmonizing bite forces, and oral-systemic health and well-being.

This is what sets our office apart. Together we strive for the best in your total oral health prevention.”

A well-thought-out and choreographed hygiene appointment can truly establish you in the relationship-based sector of dental care.

Bill Gregg DDS

I attended South Hills High School in Covina, Denison University in Granville, Ohio and the University of Redlands in Redlands, California prior to dental school at UCLA. My post-graduate education has included an intensive residency at UCLA Hospital, completion of a graduate program at The L.D. Pankey Institute for Advanced Dental Education ; acceptance for Fellowship in the Academy of General Dentistry (FAGD); and in 2006 I earned the prestegious Pankey Scholar. Continuing education has always been essential in the preparation to be the best professional I am capable of becoming and to my ongoing commitment to excellence in dental care and personal leadership. I am a member of several dental associations and study groups and am involved in over 100 hours of continuing education each year. The journey to become one of the best dentists in the world often starts at the Pankey Institute. I am thrilled that I am at a point in my professional life that I can give back. I am honored that I can be a mentor to others beginning on their path. As such, I have discovered a new passion; teaching. I am currently on faculty at The L.D. Pankey Institute for Advanced Dental Education devoting 2-3 weeks each year to teaching post-graduate dental programs. In other presentations my focus is on Leadership and includes lifestyle, balance and motivation as much as dentistry.

One thought on “An Occlusion-Focused Hygiene Exam

  • June 23, 2018 at 3:41 pm

    Great articles – Bill!


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