Hygienists focus on preventing and treating dental issues by promoting good oral hygiene. At High Street Dental Practice, we often say that the hygienist’s job is to keep patients away from the dentist. That’s because many dental problems such as dental decay and gums issues such as gingivitis or periodontitis are largely preventable with the right level of care.
During a hygiene appointment, the health of your gums and teeth will be assessed. This will involve looking for any signs of swelling, inflammation or bleeding. The hygienist may also take measurements where the gum attaches to the tooth and look for signs of gum issues.
One of the main aspects of the hygienist’s role is to carry out a ‘scale and polish’, a thorough clean of the teeth to remove plaque and tartar build-up. Scaling (removing tartar) also makes it easier to keep teeth clean, as there is no longer a rough surface to attract more plaque. This deep clean will be finished off with a polish to leave teeth shiny and smooth.
If gum disease has progressed beyond the early stages, a hygienist can remove deep tartar from the root surface. This is known as root surface debridement and, as it involves deeper cleaning under the gum line, the procedure may require an anaesthetic.
Hygienists also offer effective hygiene advice and demonstrate how to keep your teeth clean and plaque-free with toothbrushes, interdental brushes and floss.