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Dental hygiene treatment is delivered by a specially trained dental hygienist who works to prevent gum disease and tooth decay. They will usually carry out scale and polishes, periodontal treatment where necessary, give oral hygiene instructions, dietary and fluoride advice as well as smoking cessation. It’s important to visit your dentist to ensure they can advise you of whether you require a hygienist visit.
Essentially, to prevent gum disease. Gum disease causes bleeding & painful gums, bad breath, and even loose teeth. Gum disease can be treated, stopped and even reversed if caught in it’s early stages. Your hygienist will not only treat and prevent gum disease, but will give you the control to prevent it yourself at home with a better oral hygiene regime. People with exceptional oral hygiene may not need to see a hygienist as often as somebody with gum disease, but regular visits are advised to ensure mouths are kept healthier for longer.
Plaque is a soft, sticky film that builds up on your teeth and contains millions of bacteria. The bacteria in plaque are harmful and can cause tooth decay and gum disease if they are not removed regularly through brushing and flossing. Your hygienist will show you the correct tooth brushing technique and flossing method in order to achieve and maintain good plaque control.
There are two types of gum disease and the most common symptom of both are bleeding gums. One is called gingivitis and is reversible as the infection is limited to your gums only. Your gums may appear red and puffy too. The second, later stage is called periodontitis and is characterised as being irreversible as it involves the underlying bone which supports the teeth. Here bone can be lost due to the build up of destructive bacteria (plaque) beneath the gumline in what we call pockets. Pockets are small spaces between the tooth and the gum under the surface where your gum is no longer firmly attached to the tooth as the bacteria has destroyed those attachments. If left untreated for long enough the bacteria within these pockets destroys the bone and if enough bone is lost then your teeth can become loose and eventually fall out. Unfortunately we cannot remake the bone that has been lost in the process but we can prevent it from progressing and aim to stabilise the disease. Periodontitis can only be diagnosed by your dentist or hygienist so it’s vital to keep up with regular visits to diagnose and monitor any changes in the dentition. If you notice bleeding when you brush or floss, it is strongly advised you make an appointment with your hygienist!
The best way to prevent gum disease would be to brush twice daily using an appropriate technique for your toothbrush for 2 minutes at a time ensuring all surfaces are covered. Using tepes or floss to clean in your between your teeth at least 1x a day as a regular tooth brush just isn’t built for it. Brushing only removes 60% of plaque and the remainder is actually between the teeth! Some areas in the mouth are more difficult to clean thus to prevent the buildup of harmful bacteria, regular visits to your hygienist are essential to remove it.
Airflow is a treatment designed to remove stain whether it be from tea, coffee, red wine or tobacco to improve the appearance of teeth. Stubborn stains which cannot be removed at home via tooth brushing can almost certainly be removed via airflow. It is an instrument that uses high power to blast air, water and a fine powder at the teeth to lift off stain revealing a beautiful, smooth tooth surface underneath. Many patients find airflow to be a good, less drastic alternative to whitening as by removing stain, teeth do appear slightly whiter. Your dental hygienist is fully qualified to provide this treatment alongside regular scale and polishes. Please bear in mind that results will vary from patient to patient and that whitening will often produce more drastic results.