Dental Hygiene

hygiene-1The old idiom we all know so well: “Prevention is better than cure” applies most aptly for the care of your teeth and gums; this is our philosophy too!

We therefore strongly encourage our patients to come in for regular bi-annual dental examinations and visits to our hygienist for professional dental cleanings (dental prophylaxis ) and that you take correct care and responsibility of your teeth and gums between these visits.  This prophylaxis will prevent tooth decay, gum disease and will make existing fillings, crowns and bridges last longer.

hygiene-2A Dental Hygienist is a highly trained professional (a university qualification) who is a specialist in the field of preventative dental care.  We as dentists work closely together with our hygienists in this essential prevention and control of dental disease (decay, gum disease, etc.). This is to establish and maintain a favourable oral environment to ensure the optimal and successful outcome of existing and future dental restorations.

Your regular cleaning appointment should include the following:

  • Removal of plaque: Plaque is a sticky, almost invisible film that forms on the teeth.  It is a growing colony of living bacteria, food debris, and saliva.  The bacteria produce a sticky substance and toxins (poisons) that cause inflammation your gums.  This inflammation is called gingivitis and is the start of periodontal (gum) disease!
  • Removal of calculus (tartar): Calculus is hardened plaque that has been left on the tooth for some time and is now firmly attached to the tooth surface which can’t be brushed off with a toothbrush. Calculus forms above and below the gum line and can only be removed with special dental instruments.
  • Teeth polishing: This will remove stain and plaque that is not otherwise removed during tooth brushing.
  • Apply fluoride gel to your teeth to strengthen and re-mineralize weak areas in the enamel and particularly on exposed root surfaces before these teeth break down with decay.

hygiene-3The hygienist may also attend to the following additional items:

  • Apply agents to the necks of your teeth to help reduce and control abnormal tooth sensitivity.
  • Treatment of bad breath advice and counselling on how to prevent it. This could include the application of agents to your gums and teeth to help reduce and control harmful bacterial activity.
  • Advice and counselling on dry mouth syndrome
  • Monitor and screen for the start or resolution of gum disease.
  • Advanced treatment for periodontal disease (gum disease)
  • Clean those areas of your mouth that are inaccessible to you, i.e. around implants and under bridges.
  • Demonstrate to you the correct oral hygiene techniques (brushing, flossing, etc) and available products on the market.
  • Advise and council patients on good dietary and supplementary techniques to prevent cavities and gum disease.
  • Advise and council you about the different tooth whitening (bleaching) techniques and products available to you.

hygiene-4The frequency of your visitsto the hygienist is determined on an individual needs basis. Most dentists and hygienists are now setting up a patient’s cleaning schedule based on individual needs for e.g. patients who suffer from gum disease, dry mouth and children and adults who are undergoing orthodontic treatment. This may be as often as four times a year.   

   Professionally cleaned teeth should make you feel confident and healthy about your teeth, gums and smile.

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