SEARSMONT — Imagine having your teeth cleaned, but instead of the typical scrape, scrape, scrape, you feel a soothing, warm water jet removing built-up plaque, tartar and bacteria.

At Searsmont Oral Wellness Center, owner Pamela Sargent said the state-of-the-art technology was developed in Switzerland 40 years ago and her independent practice is one of the few in the area that offers the minimally invasive procedure.

Inside the Searsmont Oral Wellness Center at 207 Main St. N. Photo by Fran Gonzalez

Guided Biofilm Therapy, she said, is an eight-step treatment program that includes painting the teeth with a solution that shows areas where bacteria are prevalent. Sargent then projects on a screen for patients a slide of the bacteria they are harboring and gives tips on how to achieve better results. Next, using a precision, high-power water pressure tool, she removes plaque around the teeth and “leaves you feeling as if you have just visited a spa for your mouth.”

According to Sargent, better oral health lowers patients’ risk for more than 50 life-threatening ailments, such as heart disease, stroke, cancer and dementia. “It can get people on a better path to being healthy,” she said.

Right now there is a lot of talk about the importance of gut health for overall wellness,  she said. “Well, where do you think gut health starts?” she asked. “In the mouth.” Realizing that whole health starts with oral health, she said, “ignited a fire underneath me.”

On initial visits Sargent reviews patient history, performs an oral risk assessment, and measures blood pressure. She checks for cancer in the mouth and lymph nodes in the head and neck, and refers patients to area dentists as needed.

Sargent has been a hygienist for 20 years, but said her body had started feeling worn down at the beginning of the pandemic. She took a three-month sabbatical and decided to slow down a notch by switching to part-time, working for a dentist in Waterville as an independent contractor. She remembers on one of her drives to the office asking herself, “Why am I not working for myself?”

She purchased an Amish-made prefabricated building that came insulated and wired, and placed it at her Searsmont home. “I had the vision of what I wanted it to look like in my head,” she said. Sargent said she wanted to create an inviting, comfortable and cozy atmosphere, as opposed to a sterile dentist’s office. In May, Sargent opened her practice.

“After I do this for 10 to 15 more years,” she said, “it can be our ready-made camp.”

In the oral hygienist field, she said, “scrape, polish and reappoint” has been the norm for a long time and added that patients have been very appreciative of this new technology.

“Not a lot of people are aware that there are independent hygienists,” she said. “Not everybody has insurance, and it can be a struggle for some financially.” It is important to know there is a choice for preventive care, she said.

Searsmont Oral Wellness is at 207 Main St. N., Searsmont. For more information, visit searsmontoralwellness.com, call 930-9020, or email pam@searsmontsmiles.com.