Focus On: Dental Hygiene

April 22nd, 2015

On attending a recent routine check-up with my dentist, they recommended a trip to the dental hygienist. Other than the obvious link to hygiene and cleanliness, I had little idea about what to expect: was I simply about to have a jolly-good clean, or was there more to it than that? Today’s article focusses on dental hygiene by asking some simple questions, and aims to clarify exactly what to expect.

Who are dental hygienists?

Whilst dental hygienists are not actually dentists, they are a specially trained and qualified member of the dental team. Their role is specifically around preventing dental problems occurring, and helping to keep gums healthy by treating and preventing gum disease. They also work to support the dentist, for example by improving gum health ready for the dentist to carry out further work on a later occasion.

What do dental hygienists do?

Dental hygienists can support us with several issues related to oral health. Their primary role however is to professionally clean our teeth by carrying out a ‘scale and polish’. This is when they remove plaque and tartar. This helps to prevent dental disease. Hygienists also give advice to enable clients to learn the best way to keep their teeth free of plaque at home. Often this means giving advice tailored to meet individual needs. You can learn how to floss properly and use ‘interdental’ brushes. You can also discuss the best toothpaste and toothbrush types to use for you.

As well as this, dental hygienists are also able to perform a number of other roles, depending on their exact qualifications and the laws that govern the place they work in. For example, hygienists might: take x-rays, place fissure sealants, carry out tooth whitening (under prescription from a dentist), and administer fluoride based treatments. Ock Street are happy to tell you more about the role their hygienists take within the surgery.

Will it hurt to undergo a visit to the hygienist?

It is hoped that for most people, a visit to the hygienist will be free from pain. However, there are measures that can be taken if you do experience some pain. For example there are a variety of anaesthetic creams (or even local anaesthetics) which can be given to numb the painful area. Have a chat to your hygienist when you visit.

How much does it cost?

At Ock Street, all treatment plans are tailored to the individual. Depending on the type of work being done and the number of sessions, the price for hygienist treatment will vary. Give Ock Street a call to book a consultation and a written quote can be provided.

Can my dentist do this work instead?

In some practices, dentists do carry out such work. However, it is highly beneficial to visit a specially trained hygienist. They will have greater skills and knowledge in the field due to more in depth specialist training. They will also be able to spend longer with you, and give you more detailed advice regarding how to maintain your oral health at home.

A regular trip to your hygienist is a really good idea. Not only will you be able to enjoy that ‘squeaky clean’ feeling when you leave each time, but you’ll have saved yourself a lot of potential pain and inconvenience by taking steps to avoid preventable dental disease. I think I better book that appointment!

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