Dental Hygienists are specially trained to work with the Dentist and play a very important role in ensuring and maintaining total oral health. Our Hygienists can be seen on a Private basis only.
They are highly qualified and trained professionals who must obtain either a Diploma in Dental Hygiene or an equivalent three year degree course at university. Like Dentists they must also be registered with the General Dental Council GDC UK.
Hygienists help people to keep their gums and mouths healthy.
Does every dental practice have a Hygienist?
Unfortunately, not all practices have a Dental Hygienist. At our practice, due to the huge benefit seen by our patients, we find that our Hygienist preventative programme is extremely popular.
Hygienists are able to treat patients once they have been seen by a Dentist and a treatment plan has been prescribed.
It is considered good practice for your dentist to refer you to your Dental Hygienist according to your needs. If you want additional appointments to brighten up your teeth for a special occasion, just ask your Hygienist.
What do they do?
Dental Hygienists help prevent dental disease. They are also trained to recognise and deal with a host of other dental needs. They have both clinical and health promotional responsibilities.
Under the written prescription of a Dentist a Hygienist may, amongst other things:
Monitor gum (periodontal) disease
Monitor plaque levels
Provide oral hygiene advice
Give specific preventive advice including nutritional guidance advice, use of fluoride agents and the benefits of smoking cessation
Develop a home care plan for individual patients to maintain oral health
Perform scaling above and below the gum
Comprehensive hand scaling of the root surface (debridement)
Removal of staining for cosmetic purposes
Placing of anti-microbial agents where appropriate
Administer local anaesthetic when necessary
Because Dental Hygienists are experts in the management of gum disease you may be referred to them for more intensive treatment such as deep scaling to help remove damaged tissue from your teeth, which promotes healing, and regeneration of healthy gum tissue.
Why is this treatment so important?
Gum disease can occur without any symptoms, which is why it is important to attend for your dental examinations on a regular basis. It is also linked to heart disease and there are concerns about the effect of poor gum health with pregnancy and diabetes.
As gum disease progresses it can cause the soft gum tissue to recede, exposing the roots of teeth to further attack by bacteria and disease. This can ultimately lead to the loss of teeth due to the bone around the root becoming infected with disease.
In fact 70% of all adult teeth are lost as a result of gum disease and not tooth decay, so it’s really important to visit your Dentist and Hygienist on a regular basis.
Regular professional cleaning combined with coaching to improve your homecare will ensure huge dental benefits. A clean and healthy mouth improves your appearance and gives you fresh breath. However, research has shown that good cleaning significantly reduces the risk of fillings needing replacement, new cavities, gum recession, food trapping and teeth drifting. Evidence is also available to show that having good oral hygiene is paramount to the longevity of complex dental restorations such as veneers, crowns, bridges and implants.
Why doesn't the dentist do this work?
For many years Dentists have recognised the unquestionable value of Hygienists who are specially trained in oral health care and will spend much longer with you as they are also experts in advising on homecare and motivating you to correctly look after your teeth and gums.
The work that a Hygienist does supports and complements Dentists, allowing them to devote more quality time to restorative treatment.
New patients once registered are seen by a Dentist who will formulate a treatment plan, which is presented to the Hygienist.
Existing patients are then able to see the Hygienist in between check-ups. However, it is important that patients are seen at least once a year by their Dentist to review your hygiene prescription.