You may have often appreciated your hygienist’s efforts to keep you comfortable and informed during your teeth cleaning. But have you ever wondered what you can do for hygienists to make their life easier?

We asked around and here are some of the candid responses that we got from hygienists. Their tips may help you to have an even better experience next time you are having your teeth cleaned.

1. It’s OK to swallow. This was one of the top comments we heard. Many people are unsure if it’s ok to swallow for a couple of reasons.

  • “I was waiting for the hygienist to tell me when to swallow.” Your own personal comfort is important to the hygienist, and if your mouth has become fuller than you like it, you can actually take the initiative to swallow when you feel like it. This is normal – our hygienists expect people to swallow when they need to. And it’s much better than your mouth getting so full that it leaks out one corner. If this has ever happened to you, you know how unpleasant it is for your cheek to get wet, not to mention the risk of your hair and clothes getting wet.
  • “I don’t want to get in the hygienist’s way by closing my mouth to swallow.” Trust us, the hygienist is used to people closing their mouth periodically, and this will be a welcome interruption rather than an unwelcome one (your saliva is probably more in the hygienist’s way than your momentary swallow would be). Remember that hygienists are people, too, and they get their own teeth cleaned, so they know what it feels like to have a mouth full of liquid waiting to be swallowed.
  • “I don’t know if it’s safe to swallow whatever is in my mouth.” Most of the time this will just be a mixture of water and your saliva, so it will be safe to swallow. Ask yourself what the substance tastes like. If it has a strong taste (think of your fluoride treatment), then you may want to spit it out, but anything else can be safely swallowed. When in doubt, remember that nothing the dentist or hygienist uses is toxic to you, and it is all compliant with strict FDA regulations.

2. My probe won’t hurt. The probe the hygienist uses may look pointy, but it shouldn’t hurt when it pokes your tooth any more than touching the surface of your tooth with a fork would. Many people recoil and flinch when they see the probe coming, but there’s nothing to fear. However, if for some reason it does hurt, be sure to alert your hygienist, because this can indicate a tooth problem that your dentist needs to be aware of.

Stay tuned for our next blog to hear more hygienists’ feedback on how you can not only be a great patient, but also increase your own peace of mind at the dentist.

In the meantime, don’t you want to get a chance to practice what you’ve just learned? Book your dentist appointment now!