At Just Smile our dental hygienist provides an integral part of achieving our aim of helping patients keep their teeth for life.
What is a Dental Hygienist?
A dental hygienist is a skilled professional within the dental team who is mainly concerned with ‘preventive’ dental care and treating gum disease. This includes professionally removing mature biofilm (also known as plaque), calculus, stains and other debris, deep cleaning with or without local anaesthetic when needed and ongoing monitoring of gum disease. However, the hygienist’s most important role is showing you the best way to keep your teeth and gums free of biofilm at home.
You can see the dental hygienist on referral from the dentist, or you can see the hygienist under Direct Access, meaning you do not need to be referred by a dentist.
The hygienist is able to tailor a treatment plan based on the assessment of your current oral health and will advise how frequently you need to come for your appointments in order to maintain good oral health (this could be anywhere from 3 to 12 months).
Why Should I see the Dental Hygienist and Therapist?
If you are experiencing bleeding gums, sore or swollen gums, bad breath, a bad taste in your mouth or even loose teeth, then visiting our Dental Hygienist, Chloe, will be beneficial for you. Gum disease is often described as a ‘silent disease’ meaning that you might not even know you have it. It has been linked to many systemic health conditions such as Diabetes, Alzheimer’s and Heart Disease; therefore it is vital not just for your oral health but also your general health to regularly see a dental professional for screening to detect any issues early enough for effective intervention.
Your hygienist appointment will include obtaining a detailed medical history, finding out about your existing oral hygiene routine, screening for oral cancer, a detailed assessment of your current gum health and giving tailored advice on how to improve your gum care at home. Using a mixture of either ultrasonic and/or manual hand scalers your teeth and gums will be professionally cleaned. Cosmetic stain removal or ‘polishing’ can only be provided once the gums are healthy.
If the hygienist recognises that your gums need further intervention to get them under control, you will be prescribed a course of ‘Periodontal Therapy’. This involves a series of appointments to thoroughly clean above and below the gum in order to remove the bacteria that are causing gum inflammation and destruction of the bone and ligaments that support the teeth.
It is also important for children to see the hygienist to get them into good habits from a young age and to take responsibility for their oral care in order to prevent dental diseases such as tooth decay or gum disease. Children’s teeth can be professionally cleaned too and it is a good introduction to receiving dental treatment.
Children who have fixed braces will also require regular 3 monthly hygienist appointments during the course of their orthodontic treatment to prevent a build up of plaque and calculus around the braces. This could cause bleeding and swollen gums, or even white spots on the teeth that are noticeable once the braces are removed.
Just remember, healthy gums do not bleed. You may initially experience an increase in bleeding, soreness or sensitivity after your hygienist appointment as you adopt new cleaning techniques at home, which stimulate the inflamed gum tissue. This increased bleeding should settle within a few days and should not be seen as a deterrent for adopting the suggested cleaning techniques.
Book your appointment today to begin to improve your oral health!