What is a Hygienist ?
A dental hygienist specialises in scaling and polishing the teeth of a patient. This involves moving rough plaque that has built up that can not be removed with a normal tooth brushing regime.
It is advised that you see a dental hygienist at least twice a year, however some patients may need more care than others. Here at Haslemere Dental Centre the amount of times you visit a hygienist is dictated by the findings of your new patient exam, typically you will see a hygienist every three, four or six months depending on the findings in the exam.
If you would like to find out more about the hygiene team that we have here at HDC please feel free to give us a call and arrange a time to come in for a chat with our treatment coordinator who would be happy to answer any questions that you may have.
To help prevent oral diseases, cavities and tartar build-up, and improve tooth appearance, routine dental cleaning should be carried out. Proper daily brushing of the teeth, along with inter dental flossing, will result in healthy teeth and gums. Cleaning teeth also prevents plaque build-up, which appears as an unsightly yellow film on the tooth surface.
Plaque is formed due to colonising bacteria, which respire and produce acid. The combination of acidic conditions and a large bacterial presence results in tooth decay. Plaque can also lead to gum disease if it is allowed to build up and mineralise with saliva (tartar). Tartar has a rough surface, which can attract more plaque, and a cyclic build-up can occur. Heavy tartar can irritate gums, leading to gum disease and tooth loss. Therefore good oral hygiene is the only way to prevent this.
Professional dental cleaning – the “scale and polish” treatment or “prophylaxis” – is recommended at every dental check-up. Dentists and dental hygienists can remove stubborn plaque, tartar and stains that affect the teeth and gums both in terms of health and appearance. A professional clean is advantageous for two reasons: as a form of preventative medicine and as a satisfactory feeling aesthetically.
Scaling removes hardened plaque and other debris using a small hand instrument. A vibrating tool is used to pick at and knock out large areas of tartar or plaque. No damage to the teeth is caused. Patients feel no pain, though may notice a tickling sensation when the ultrasonic scale tool is in their mouth.
After scaling,the teeth are then polished. This involves smoothing the tooth surface by rubbing in a grit-toothpaste into the teeth with a rotating tool. The teeth are cleaned thoroughly, and the result is smooth-feeling, shinier teeth. It is harder for plaque to stick to the tooth surface when they are freshly smooth.
Getting your teeth scaled and polished every six months is vital in order to maintain top oral hygiene. The treatment reinforces daily brushing and flossing; some plaque build-up is inevitable in those tough to reach areas, and treatment from a dental hygienist will remove this, where home cleaning cannot.