Prior to beginning the assessment portion of the hygiene appointment, it is essential to explain to the patient what you will be doing and why. This allows the patient to be a part of the decision-making process and will aid in treatment acceptance.

“I’m measuring the natural space between your tooth and gums in millimeters with a small ruler. Numbers ranging from 1-3 are considered healthy. If you hear me call out a 4 or higher that means you have inflammation and/or infection in your gums.”

Always say the numbers out loud and sit the patient up after assessment to go over findings. Patients will now be actively listening for numbers which indicate infection and will be asking you for your recommendations based on what they just heard. By involving patients in their periodontal assessments, presentation of periodontal therapy is simplified.