Why should you visit a Dental Hygienist?
(BDS MSc (Clin Perio)
You might be wondering why your dentist recommends seeing a dental hygienist. We all know that poor dental hygiene is the main contributing factor in tooth decay and gum disease. We also know that effective tooth brushing and cleaning between helps teeth and gums to stay healthy. So why the additional time and expense? What do they offer that my dentist can’t?
Despite all our brushing, flossing and mouth washing, harmful plaque can still build in up in hard to reach areas. Most of the time we can’t tell it’s there, we can’t feel it or see it, it’s the same colour as our teeth. It takes less than a week for ‘secret plaque’ to cause early gum disease or gingivitis. No matter how well we think we’re removing the ‘germs’, we tend to miss the same bits every time. Without ‘professional removal’, bacteria will build up and can mineralize, becoming tartar (we call it calculus). Given time this build up can cause more serious irreversible damage called periodontitis. Unfortunately, this often goes by unnoticed, but sometime we get little warning signs -bleeding gums and bad breath (halitosis), or big warning signs of drifting and wobbly teeth or our teeth may even fall out.
So what does a Dental Hygienist do?
Dental Hygienists are professional guardian angels for our dental health. They are very highly qualified individuals and are trained to a very high level.
Not only do they provide active treatment for developed gum disease they can also identify the areas of your mouth that you’re not reaching effectively. They guide us how to clean our teeth and gums more efficiently, helping to prevent gum disease and tooth decay.
Why is this treatment important?
Professional cleaning will remove hidden plaque and tartar and help prevent long-term dental problems. This, combined with looking after your teeth and gums effectively at home, will help keep your mouth healthy. There is also the added advantage of improving the appearance of your teeth, making them look cleaner and whiter, as well as helping with fresh breath.
Good oral health is the foundation of everything we provide at The Raglan Suite and our hygienist works hand in hand with our clinicians, offering expert advice and support to all our patients.
How do they do it and will it hurt?
Each patient is treated as an individual, so your appointment will be tailored to your needs and concerns. For preventative maintenance care the hygienist uses special instruments to gently remove plaque deposits without harming the teeth. Commonly used first is an ultrasonic instrument that uses tickling vibrations to knock larger pieces of tartar loose. It also sprays a cooling mist of water while it works to wash away the debris.
Once the larger pieces of tartar are gone, the hygienist will use to fine hand instruments, to check the tooth surface and remove any left over deposits.
Finally, once the hygienist is satisfied the surfaces are smooth; the hygienist will polish your teeth using a rotating polishing cup filled with a fine paste called prophylaxis paste. This helps to remove staining and leaves teeth shiny smooth.
We try our best to ensure that all treatment is pain free at The Raglan Suite. However sometimes due to exposed root surfaces or when you’re undergoing active gum treatment, it may be necessary to use a numbing gel or local anaesthetic to make sure you’re comfortable.
Do hygienists offer anything else?
Their priority is to keep your mouth healthy by monitoring and preventing disease. They will suggest and guide you on the best and most efficient ways to remove as much plaque as possible and reduce it build up. The can identify risk factors in your diet and lifestyle that may negatively impact on your teeth and gums. They can even provide support when you’ve taken that step to stop smoking.
If you’re lucky you are likely to spend a lot longer with your hygienist than your dentist. So whilst they are removing stain and tartar from your teeth, your dental hygienist will have more opportunity to notice anything that should be there, lesions that might be oral cancer. There are also health conditions that manifest themselves in the mouth and your hygienist can bring them to the attention of your dentist so you can receive early intervention and treatment if required.
So when your dentist next recommends booking an appointment with a Dental Hygienist, think of it as ‘preventative maintenance’. By seeing your hygienist you’ll be investing in the future of your smile!
For further information or to book an appointment, contact The Raglan Suite on 01423 565432 or fill in our online enquiry form.