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Dental hygiene treatment includes professionally cleaning the teeth for the patient. This is commonly called scaling and polishing. However, perhaps our most important role is showing the patient the best way to keep the teeth free of plaque. The dentist also plays an important role in treating gum disease.
What is a hygienist?
A hygienist works with the dentist to help patients care for their teeth. The role is a combination of a clinician, treating and preventing gum (periodontal) disease and decay (caries) and a communicator/educator, teaching and motivating patients to care for their own teeth and gums.
Hygienists are specially trained for this work, doing a course at a school of dental hygiene/therapy accredited by a university.
A dental hygienist is an extremely important team member in any dental practice, particularly so at our practice in Harrow. The hygienist will work in close coordination with the dentist to ensure that your teeth remain in excellent condition.
What does the dental hygienist do?
One of the main roles of our hygienists here at White Star dental practice, Harrow is as a dental health educator. They are highly trained and experienced in understanding the causes of dental disease and decay and are able to spot them at a very early stage.
The hygienist will then be able to advise you on the best oral healthcare routine that you can easily follow at home. They will advise on flossing, tape and the type of toothbrush as well as the techniques for using all of these dental health aides.
Why do I need to see the hygienist?
If you want to keep your teeth as healthy as possible for as long as possible then you need to see the hygienist. Because they have dedicated training in oral health they are the best person to look after your teeth with you. Each time you visit your hygienist will carry out an assessment of your progress, we promise we won’t judge you or tell you off we’ll just let you know of improvements that could be made to your everyday routine.
Of course it is cheaper to not visit the hygienist! However any savings are only in the short term, if you don’t look after your teeth the long-term implication is that you could need dentures, dental bridges or dental implants to maintain your smile, this could potentially run into thousands of pounds worth of treatment. So it’s well worth keeping your teeth fit and healthy!
How does the hygienist keep my teeth clean?
Biofilm. That’s the buzz-word of the dental hygienist. Biofilm is a thin layer of bacteria which form over the surface of your teeth throughout the day, assuming you clean your teeth properly this is removed each time you brush. Using a good-quality mouthwash will then prevent the buildup of biofilm throughout the day.
If on the other hand you don’t clean your teeth properly then biofilm can build and build until it turns into plaque. This is the solid material which the dental hygienist has to pick off with their instruments. The plaque generally builds up around the gum/tooth margin which can irritate the soft gum tissue.
This irritation can cause swelling, bleeding and puffiness of the gums which results in gingivitis. If the gingivitis is not treated it can turn into the far more serious periodontitis which affects the bone around your tooth. Periodontitis can lead to tooth loss, and it all starts with a buildup of biofilm.
This is why it is so important to keep your teeth clean daily, and a hygienist will help you in this routine.