Hygienists are specially trained to carry out scaling and polishing; removing plaque, calculus (hardened plaque) and stain, using special instruments to ensure your teeth are thoroughly clean. They are also expert at teaching you how to look after your teeth and gums. You may be advised to see the hygienist if you have some signs of gum inflammation such as bleeding or swollen gums or even more serious gum disease.
Hygienists also give advice about diet, preventing tooth decay, preventing tooth wear and caring for dentures and implants. They can also apply fluoride treatments and varnishes to desensitise the teeth. The hygienist will work closely with your dentist to give you care that is tailored to your needs.
The importance of treating gum disease
The hygienist can help you by showing you ways to reduce the inflammation of your gums and can provide treatments for gum disease. This is important because although you may not be aware of it, or have any pain, gum inflammation can progress further. If left to progress it results in bone being lost from around the teeth, gums receding, painful loose teeth and even tooth loss. This advanced condition (called periodontitis) cannot be reversed however your gums are easily treatable at the early stages before this happens.
Cosmetic scaling and polishing
Scaling and polishing removes built up stains on the teeth from things like tea, coffee and red wine. This restores teeth to their natural colour and helps achieve a brighter smile. The painstaking and meticulous skills of the hygienist mean that this can be done with minimal discomfort and is safe for the teeth.
Causes of bad breath
The vast majority of bad breath cases — nearly 90% – are caused by periodontal disease, or gum disease. Other causes of bad breath include:
- Poor oral hygiene
- Ill-fitted dental crowns, bridges, dental restorations and dentures
- Cracked, leaking or poorly designed dental fillings
- Poorly cleaned dentures
- Dietary habits including some foods, drinks and smoking
Don’t suffer any longer, if your life has been negatively impacted by long term or temporary bad breath or halitosis, dental hygienist appointments are available here at FACEmed.
What happens at the visit to the hygienist?
• Your medical history will be assessed as it may be relevant to the way that we treat you. The hygienist will ask you about smoking habits and alcohol consumption to provide appropriate advice. The hygienist will ask you about your current tooth brushing routine to allow us to tailor our advice to you.
• During an inspection of your mouth the hygienist will examine certain things such as; the tightness of the gums around the teeth, the way in which the gums may bleed, and the general appearance of the gums. The hygienist can then explain any problems that you may have in detail with you.
• The hygienist will remove any hard deposits, plaque and stain using a mechanical ultrasonic device and manually with hand instruments. Special stain removal techniques may also be used and the teeth can be polished to leave a nice smooth feeling and a brighter appearance of the teeth. Your teeth may feel a little more sensitive for a few days afterwards but there are some special tooth pastes that will help reduce this.
• The hygienist’s main work is to treat and prevent gum disease. You can help by closely following the instructions that are given to you. You may be asked to bring along your toothbrush to the appointment so that a safe and effective brushing technique can be properly demonstrated. The hygienist will show you how to clean properly in between your teeth and around any dental bridges or implants. Gum problems often start where plaque bacteria is left to stagnate in-between the teeth where the toothbrush cannot reach.
• Your dentist and hygienist will discuss with you how many times you are likely to need to attend for the first time and will advise you the appropriate number of times to come back again in the future.