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Oral Hygiene

What Is The Hygienists Role In The Practice?

The hygienist’s main role is to provide professional cleaning of the teeth for the patient. This is usually called scaling and polishing. However, perhaps their most important role is the education of the patient in the best way to keep the teeth free of plaque. Our hygienist’s work closely with the dentist’s and Nurses to provide care tailored to your needs.

Why Is This Treatment Important?

Regular professional cleaning combined with your home care will help maintain a healthy mouth. A clean and healthy mouth will improve your appearance, help you keep your teeth and give you fresh breath. Poor gum health is now known to be related to heart problems later in life. Gum disease is a contributing factor in the following diseases and conditions:

View Gingivitis & Periodontitis

About Gum Diseases & General Health

What are the signs of gum disease?

  • If you notice any of the following signs of gum disease, see your dentist or hygienist immediately:
  • Gums that bleed when you brush your teeth
  • Red, swollen or tender gums
  • Gums that have pulled away from the teeth
  • Bad breath that doesn’t go away
  • Pus between your teeth and gums
  • Loose teeth
  • A change in the way your teeth fit together when you bite
  • A change in the fit of partial dentures

Can A Hygienist Help Prevent Dental Disease?

The training of the hygienist is centered around preventing dental disease (Gum disease and tooth decay). Carefully removing the deposits that build up on the teeth (tartar) and teaching you how to prevent it reforming again, will go a long way to slowing the progress of gum disease.
By discussing your diet and recommending other preventive measures your decay rate can also be reduced. Remember prevention is free – you do it yourself!

What Other Help Is Available To Adults?

Adults can also benefit from preventive measures such as the application of fluoride. They can also have anti-bacterial gels and solutions applied under the gum to kill the bacteria causing gum disease.
Another very important part of the hygienists work, is the regular instruction and advice on home care. The hygienist may also suggest giving up smoking as this will reduce staining. Recent research has also shown that smokers have more gum disease and lose more teeth than non-smokers.
As with children, Adults can also benefit from the application of sealants to the deep fissures of the teeth. This will prevent decay starting in these areas. In addition, we can analyse your saliva for the type of bacteria known to cause decay and accurately asses your own personal risk.

Why Doesn’t The Dentist Do This Work?

Some dentists will carry out this type of work. However, many now recognize that the hygienist has been specially trained to carry out scaling and polishing and can spend longer time with you.
They and our Nurses are also experts at teaching you how to look after your teeth and gums. Often the hygienist will spend a number of appointments getting the gums healthy ready for the dentist to restore the teeth with crowns and fillings.
Will The Treatment Hurt?
Scaling and polishing is usually pain-free. However, if you do experience some discomfort the hygienist can eliminate this by giving you some local anaesthetic. It is important that you let the hygienist know at the time so that some pain control can be given.

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.
You will be shown how to remove plaque with a toothbrush and fluoride toothpaste. You will also be shown how to clean between your teeth with floss, tape or little brushes.
There are many products available and we will recommend those that are appropriate for you. Reducing the amount of sugar in your diet, and the number of times that you eat during the day can help reduce decay.
Our hygienists can help you by looking at your decay problem, your diet and by making some recommendations for you to consider.