Not using disclosing solution on every patient? Here’s why you should be

Using disclosing solution on patients isn’t just for hygiene school—in fact, says Michelle Strange, doing so has changed not only her relationship with patients but also their own commitment to their oral health.

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Most hygienists put aside using disclosing solutions after graduation; not many are aware of their significance in patient education. It may be futile to ask patients to look in the mirror and expect them to interpret what they see without using disclosing solution. However, disclosing solutions can really help patients see for themselves the accumulation of bacterial biofilm spread out on the areas around their teeth. This makes it easier for clinicians to educate and motivate patients on the importance of periodontal disease prevention.

Since shifting my focus onto patient education, I am now picking up my disclosing agent more than my scaler. Previously, I used it only in extreme cases and on patients whose home-care routines I believed could benefit from a change. Now, I realize that I can become a better hygienist if I disclose each and every one of my patients.

The benefits of disclosing a patient include:

Effective biofilm removal

When I can clearly see the enemies left behind, I am determined to get every one of them by going into all the illuminated cracks and crevices of the mouth. Before discovering guided biofilm therapy (GBT),1 I never considered that I wasn't disrupting all of the biofilm sufficiently or that I should do a check to make sure I had. Unless I disclose the patient, there's no way to physically tell if all of the biofilm was sufficiently removed.