DENTAL HYGIENE AND ORAL HEALTH
WHAT IS THE ROLE OF A DENTAL HYGIENIST?
A dental hygienist is a clinical specialist in the health of soft tissue in the mouth, particularly the gums. Dental hygienists complete a three-year training program in oral hygiene and oral health, and often undergo additional training to become oral health specialists. Your dental hygienist will assist you in maintaining appropriate oral hygiene, which is crucial to your dental health. Dental hygienists are able to provide patients with advice and instructions on how to maintain clean and healthy gums, since gum health is a barometer for your overall health and well-being. The practices used by these specialists, such as scaling and polishing, will help to eliminate plaque, calculus, and tartar, as well as reduce the discoloration caused by smoking and certain foods and drinks. Dental hygienists also offer valuable oral hygiene advice for children and perform fissure sealant therapy, which is a very effective way to prevent decay in young children's teeth.
OUR QUALIFIED DENTAL HYGIENIST AT WOODBOURNE DENTAL
Elaine Woodhouse is a qualified and experienced dental hygienist, fully equipped to deal with dental hygiene treatments ranging from a routine teeth cleaning to the prevention and treatment of gum disease. Our hygienist may provide you with specialised oral hygiene instructions and education, as well as a fluoride mouth rinse to strengthen your teeth and reduce any sensitivity. It is recommended that you visit your dentist and hygienist every six months for an in-depth teeth cleaning. After a professional dental cleaning, you will likely be surprised by how great your teeth feel. Ask Elaine about any of your oral health concerns or for advice on maintaining a good oral hygiene routine.
WHAT DOES A DENTAL HYGIENE VISIT ENTAIL?
Our dental hygienist will assess the condition of your teeth, looking for any indicators of dental decay, gum disease, and oral cancer. Following the assessment, the hygienist will then clean and polish your teeth, eliminating any dental plaque, tartar, and other bacterial deposits from the surface of your teeth and gums. They will also inquire about your dental history, such as any past dental work, your oral hygiene regimen, and any concerns you may have regarding your teeth. Generally, a scale and polish treatment involves scaling and root planning, which is used to remove plaque from the teeth and gums.
It is essential to maintain regular dental cleanings, as plaque and calculus can contribute to dental decay and periodontal disease. Furthermore, such cleanings can help to reduce bad breath and remove surface staining, which cannot be addressed through regular brushing and flossing. A bi-annual professional (in-depth) teeth cleaning is recommended. This is done with an ultrasonic scaler, which utilizes vibration and water to remove any calcified plaque from the teeth and gums. Hand scalers may also be used in combination to remove any plaque that the ultrasonic scaler was unable to. After scaling, a gritty paste containing fluoride is used to polish the teeth and remove any extrinsic staining.
WHY DO DENTISTS REFER PATIENTS TO A DENTAL HYGIENIST?
Dentists frequently refer patients to a hygienist for routing cleaning, as well as various other reasons. Just like your dentist is a specialist in teeth, your dental hygienist is a specialist in gum and oral health. Upon doing a routine examination, your dentist will assess the depth of any voids or pockets that may develop between your gums and teeth. Pockets can form as a result of bacteria in your mouth, producing plaque. Plaque is a sticky substance that may not be removed through ordinary daily brushing, and can cause your gums to become irritated. This may eventually lead to harmful gum disease.
It is important to attend dental examinations on a regular basis, as gum disease can occur without any initial symptoms. During a regular check-up, your dentist may spot the early stages of gum disease and may recommend that you visit a hygienist. If left untreated, gum disease can become very serious, with the gums becoming swollen and infected. As gum disease progresses, soft gum tissue may recede and expose teeth roots, leaving your teeth vulnerable to further attack by bacteria and disease. Ultimately, tooth loss may occur due to the root and bone around the root becoming infected. Seventy percent of all adult teeth lost are as a result of gum disease, and not tooth decay. Gum diseases are preventable with regular dental checkups and hygienist visits, and require treatment by these professionals. To help prevent any problems from arising in the first place, it is important to maintain a good oral hygiene routine, brushing and flossing your teeth every day.
It is considered good practice for your dentist to refer you to your dental hygienist for scaling and polishing appointments according to your needs. You may request an appointment with your hygienist for additional scale and polishes to brighten up your teeth for a special occasion, or for advice on any oral health issues. We advise a visit to your dental hygienist if you experience any of the following symptoms: gums bleeding upon brushing, red and swollen gums, a bad taste in your mouth, an unpleasant mouth odour, or bad breath that remains despite brushing your teeth.