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 hygienists work closely with the dentist 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.
Can A Hygienist Help Prevent Dental Disease?
The training of the hygienist is centred 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 Help Is Available For Children?
Children can benefit from having their teeth polished and being shown how to brush correctly. Techniques learned as a child will be used throughout life. The hygienist can apply fluoride gels and solutions to help prevent decay. The permanent back teeth can benefit from having the fissures sealed. This is done by applying a special plastic coating to the biting surface soon after they erupt into the mouth.
What Other Help Is Available To Adults?
Adults can 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 hygienist's work, is the regular instruction and advice on home care. The hygienist may suggest giving up smoking as this will reduce staining. Recent research has shown that smokers have more gum disease and lose more teeth than non-smokers.
Why Doesn't The Dentist Do This Work?
Some dentists will carry out this type of work. However, many now recognise that the hygienist has been specially trained to carry out scaling and polishing and can spend longer with you. They are expert 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 with the use of topical anaesthetic creams or 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.