Dental Hygiene plays an important role in dental health care and is mainly concerned with the gum health, showing people correct home care and applying preventative materials to teeth and gums.
Keeping your smile looking good requires on going preventative care.
Regular visits to your own dentist and Hygienist are essential part of your oral health maintenance program.
The Hygienist’s main work is to prevent and treat gum disease including professionally cleaning your teeth. This is usually called ‘scaling and polishing’. However, perhaps their most important role is showing you the best way to keep your teeth free of plaque.
Plaque is a sticky coating consisting of bacteria that forms constantly on your teeth. If it is not brushed away properly, this hardens to form tartar/calculus which you cannot remove yourself. Persistent plaque and calculus can lead to periodontal disease causing bleeding gums, tooth mobility and eventual tooth loss.
Adults who have a lot of decay can benefit from having fluoride applied. They can also have anti-bacterial gels and solutions applied under the gum to kill the bacteria causing gum disease. The Hygienist may also give smoking cessation advice. Smoking is a big factor in causing periodontal disease, bone loss, oral cancer, reduced healing after extractions/surgery and staining of teeth.
Children can also benefit from having their teeth cleaned and polished. The Hygienist can also apply fluoride varnishes to help prevent decay.
The permanent (or ‘adult’) back teeth can also benefit from having the biting surfaces sealed (Fissure sealants). This is done by applying a special plastic coating to the biting surface soon after the teeth come through reducing the risk of tooth decay in deep fissures that cannot be easily cleaned.