A Dental Hygienist is a qualified professional who works with the Dentist to help patients care for their teeth and gums.
The Dental Hygienist has 2 main roles;
- A clinician who treats and prevents gum (periodontal) disease and tooth decay (caries).
- An educator who teaches and motivates patients to care for their own teeth and gums.
What is the Role of the Dental Hygienist?
Our Hygienists’ primary role is to prevent and treat periodontal (gum) disease and tooth decay.
Each patient needs to be monitored according to his/her periodontal (gum) disease and tooth decay pattern to ensure it remains stable.
- At the initial visit our Hygienist will carry out a basic examination to assess how healthy your gums are by using an instrument to measure and chart the depth of any ‘pockets’ around teeth and assess the level of bleeding from the gums. They may also take x-rays if needed.
- The Hygienist will then carry out a range of professional cleaning treatments specific to your particular requirements such as scaling and polishing the teeth and root planning (deep cleaning) under local anaesthetic.
- She may also apply medications and solutions to the teeth and gums to help prevent gum disease, tooth decay and reduce sensitivity.
- An oral hygiene programme specific to your needs will be demonstrated to you to keep your mouth as clean and healthy as possible.
Advice and Education
Our Hygienists can advise you on a range of oral health procedures tailored to your individual needs, as well as demonstrating how to carry them out effectively.
- Cleaning between the teeth using floss or interdental brushes.
- Tooth brushing using a manual or electric toothbrush
- Cleaning around braces, implants, crowns, bridges etc.
They can then recommend the most suitable products for you to carry out these procedures.
They can also analyze your diet and offer diet advice to help prevent tooth decay and enamel erosion.
Our Hygienists are also qualified to advise and help with more general issues concerning oral health, such as advice to help you give up smoking. Often the Dental Hygienist is the only health professional with time to spend with patients discussing these issues.
Why should I visit the Hygienist?
Visiting your Dental Hygienist regularly is the most important step you can take to prevent gum disease and tooth decay. Your Hygienist will help you to maintain good oral hygiene, detect disease in the early stages and anticipate problems that may arise in the future.
How often should I see the Hygienist?
This will vary depending on your state of oral health and is completely individual to each patient. In the initial phase of treatment, the Dentist may recommend that some patients see the Hygienist every two, three or four weeks, until a problem is brought under control.
After that, depending on what is needed, recalls may be at monthly, three-monthly or six monthly intervals.
How to get the most benefit from seeing the Hygienist:
- Ask lots of questions and seek clarification of anything you are unclear about.
- Ask the Hygienist to demonstrate any procedures that you think you may find difficult e.g. flossing.
- Tell the Hygienist about any problems or concerns that you are having so that she can advise you or treat you appropriately.
- Between visits follow the advice given to you with regard to cleaning procedures.
- Attend for recall visits as often as advised by your Hygienist. This is the best way to prevent tooth decay and gum disease as your oral health can be closely monitored and any disease detected can by treated in the early stages.