Dental Hygiene Appointments
Going to your dentist regularly and getting your teeth professionally cleaned is really important because no matter how diligent you are, as there will be areas in your mouth, especially around the back teeth, that you may miss and plaque will gradually build up. If this is left, this can lead to bad breath, gum disease, or dental decay or eventually tooth loss.
Here at Brij Dhody Dental Practice, we have a dental hygienist that is specifically qualified and trained, to professionally clean your teeth. Some patients with advanced gum disease may require an intensive course of hygiene treatment and then hygiene appointments every three months.
- An appointment with a hygienist will involve an initial oral hygiene check, followed by a ‘scaling’ procedure. This is where any build up of harmful plaque and tartar is carefully and gently removed from the surface of your teeth and around the gum line using scalers and curettes, which are specially designed tools to clean away soft deposits.
- Following a good clean and analysis of overall gum health, they will give your teeth a polish with a gentle soft brush to remove superficial staining.
- In cases where there is decay, a hygienist may apply fluoride or an antibacterial gel.
- Your hygienist will educate you about the best way to clean your teeth and gums and put you right if you are missing any areas.
- It is important to understand the problems that can arise from poor oral hygiene and how to clean your teeth using products that suit your individual needs.
Why do I need to see the hygienist?
The two main problems arising from poor oral hygiene are gum disease and tooth decay.
A primary cause of both tooth decay and gum disorders is dental plaque. This is made up of millions of bacteria, which find conditions in the mouth ideal for growth, especially around the gum margins and in between the teeth. It is when dental plaque is allowed to remain on the teeth without being cleaned off that problems occur. If dental plaque is left on the teeth it begins to harden or calcify forming calculus which has to be cleaned off by a dentist or hygienist.
Dental caries (tooth decay) is caused when sugars in the diet react with bacteria to produce acids. These attack the surface of the teeth and, if untreated, the cavities become deeper and damage the tooth eventually reaching the pulp or nerve of the tooth. Following three simple rules can prevent dental caries:
- Do not eat too much sugar, especially between meals;
- Clean teeth effectively and regularly;
- Use fluoride toothpaste making teeth less vulnerable to attack.
Signs of Gingivitis and Periodontal Disease
Healthy gums should be pale pink in colour, have a matt surface and be firm to touch. Bacterial plaque, which is allowed to build up on the teeth, starts to produce toxins, which attack the gum. This causes swelling, inflammation and bleeding, signs of gingivitis.
Bacterial plaque can eventually destroy the fibrous connections between the gum and the tooth creating a `pocket’ down the side of the tooth. If left unattended, this can lead to periodontal disease where the pocket deepens and bone is lost, which can lead to loosening of the teeth and tooth loss.