Using an Independent Practice Dental Hygienist (IPDH)

Patients retain the right to choose where and by whom they have their teeth cleaned. Upon a referral for treatment outside the scope of practice by an IPDH, once the treatment is completed (by the dentist), ethical standards require that the patient be returned to the referring independent dental hygienist.

What you should expect from your dentist’s exam

A thorough medical and dental history should be complete, up-to-date, revisited at each dental visit, and should include the following:

  1. Charting of dental caries and current restorations
  2. Periodontal probing and soft and hard tissue evaluation
  3. Oral hygiene and habits evaluation
  4. Temporomandibular dysfunction evaluation
  5. Oral cancer exam
  6. Blood pressure and pulse recorded initially
Every patient should have their blood pressure and pulse taken before the administration of anesthetics or oral sedatives, etc. that can possible affect the patient's vital signs.

The Maine Board of Dental Examiners for the protection of the health and safety of the citizens of the State of Maine.

Dental treatments—Do you have an expressed consent?

A written informed consent is considered the “Standard of Care” and it should include:

  1. The complete diagnosis
  2. The recommended treatment plan and or procedures
  3. All realistic treatment options
  4. Common and/or significant possible complication
Be informed and educated about dental treatment being offered.

Your x-rays

Patients can request their x-rays be sent to another dentist or independent dental hygienist by written request. A duplication of the x-rays should be sent in a timely manner for a reasonable charge. Whether or not the patient has met his financial obligations, the supplying of the copied x-rays may not be contingent on receipt of payment. Failure to send or supply copies of requested x-rays is considered a breach of Maine's Dental Practice Act. (MBDE, September 2007) Original x-rays are the property of the dentist who took the x-rays.(March 2007, MBDE)

How often should x-rays be taken?

How often dental radiographs (x-ray) should be taken depends on the patient's individual health needs. It is important to recognize that just as each patient is different from the next, so should the scheduling of x-ray exams be individualized for each patient.

Recommendation guidelines from the American Dental Association, U.S. Food & Drug Administration: The Selection of Patients For Dental Radiograph Examinations available on

Did you know?

3 out of 4 people in the United States suffer from some stage of periodontal gum disease.


People who tend to drink 3 or more glasses of soda/pop daily have 62% more tooth decay, fillings and tooth loss than others.


Every time you eat or drink, the bacteria is activated to produce acid that attacks tooth enamel for 20 minutes.


Every year, kids in North America spend close to half a billion dollars on chewing gum.