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HYGIENIST TREATMENTS

Visiting the hygienist regularly is important to help maintain good oral hygiene and anticipate problems which may arise. Our hygienists work as a team with the dentist and you, the patient, to provide a programme of oral care which is appropriate to your needs and lifestyle and is an excellent source of advice on all matters of oral health.

What is a dental hygienist?

Dental hygienists are specially trained to work with the dentist to give care to patients. They play an important part in dental health care and are mainly concerned with gum health - showing people correct home care and helping to keep the teeth and gums healthy.

What is the hygienist's role in the dental practice?

The hygienist's main work is to professionally clean the patient's teeth. This is usually called ‘scaling and polishing'. However, their most important role is showing people the best way to keep their teeth free of plaque. Plaque is a sticky coating that forms constantly on your teeth. They also give advice on diet and preventing dental decay. The hygienist will work with your dentist to give you care that is tailored to your needs.

Why is a hygienist treatment important?

Regular professional cleaning, combined with looking after your teeth and gums well at home, will help keep your mouth healthy. A clean and healthy mouth will improve your appearance, help you to keep your teeth and give you fresh breath.

What is gum disease?

Gum disease describes swelling, soreness or infection of the tissues supporting the teeth. There are two main forms of gum disease: gingivitis and periodontal disease.

What is gingivitis?

Gingivitis means inflammation of the gums. This is when the gums around the teeth become very red and swollen. Often the swollen gums bleed when they are brushed during cleaning.

What is periodontal disease?

Long-standing gingivitis can turn into periodontal disease. There are a number of types of periodontal disease and they all affect the tissues supporting the teeth. As the disease gets worse the bone anchoring the teeth in the jaw is lost, making the teeth loose. If this is not treated, the teeth may eventually fall out. In fact, more teeth are lost through periodontal disease than through tooth decay.

What is the cause of gum disease?

All gum disease is caused by plaque. Plaque is a film of bacteria which forms on the surface of the teeth and gums every day. Many of the bacteria in plaque are completely harmless, but there are some that have been shown to be the main cause of gum disease. To prevent and treat gum disease, you need to make sure you remove all the plaque from your teeth every day. This is done by brushing and flossing.

Can a hygienist help prevent dental disease?

This is what the training of the hygienist is all about. Carefully removing the hard deposits of tartar (or ‘calculus') that build up on the teeth and teaching you how to prevent them coming back, will go a long way towards slowing the progress of gum disease.

By talking to you about your diet, and recommending other preventive measures, the hygienist can help you keep to a routine that will slow down the rate at which your teeth decay. Regular visits and advice will help build your confidence in keeping your mouth healthy.

Will the treatment by the dental hygienist hurt?

Scaling and polishing is usually pain free. However, if you do have any discomfort the hygienist can use anaesthetic creams, or give you some local anaesthetic. It is important that you let the hygienist know at the time so they can help with your pain.

What can I do to help the hygienist?

You can do a great deal to help yourself and the hygienist, as you are in control of your mouth between visits to the practice. Your hygienist will have shown you how to remove plaque with a toothbrush and fluoride toothpaste.

They will also have shown you how to clean between your teeth with interdental brushes, floss or tape.

There are many oral care products now available including specialist toothpastes, powered toothbrushes, and mouthwashes. Your hygienist will recommend those that are best for you.

We recommend you follow three simple steps to help keep your teeth and gums healthy:

Cutting down the amount of sugar in your diet, and the number of times that you eat during the day, can help to reduce decay. Your hygienist can help you by looking at your decay problem and your diet, and by making some recommendations for you to consider.

Chewing sugar-free gum for 10 minutes after meals can also help to prevent tooth decay. Chewing gum makes your mouth produce more saliva, which in turn cancels out the acid produced in your mouth after drinking and eating.

How can my hygienist help me?

Your hygienist can scale your teeth both above and below the gum line. This may be as part of a routine visit or part of a detailed treatment plan to help improve periodontal health. Your hygienist may also help:

Your hygienist is there to help you maintain optimum dental health and is always happy to answer any question you have. There is strong evidence of a link between Periodontal (gum) Disease and some systemic problems such as diabetes and heart disease. Much research is going into this at the moment - your Hygienist can keep you informed of the latest developments.

What are the benefits of seeing a hygienist?