Preventative Care From Your Dental Hygienist Keeps You Smiling

Do you know the difference between a dentist and a dental hygienist? 

If you visit your dental clinic regularly then you’ll no doubt know the answer to this one. However, there are still many people who should be seeing us more often than they do but may have a bunch of questions which need answering before they set a cautious foot in the door. 

We’d like to tackle some of these to make you more comfortable, especially those related to your visit to our dental hygienist. If you still have concerns, feel free to pick up the phone and we will assist you with pleasure. 

Dentist vs Dental Hygienist

Wendy and Pam are our resident dental hygienists and are primarily concerned with preventative dentistry and overall oral health. Dental hygienists are specifically trained in cleaning teeth, a procedure which generally takes just 30 minutes. (Although we do offer a longer appointment for patients who may need it.)

During your consultation, they will review your medical history and gain a thorough understanding of any conditions which may impact your dental care. During your visit, they may notice potential issues which need to be referred to the dentist for diagnosis and treatment. 

This is where the role of the dental hygienist stops, and the dentist takes over. 

Most visits to a dental hygienist are for a check-up and a deep clean; getting to places and spaces that your home dental care simply can’t manage. 

The most common of these is scaling and polishing.

What are Scaling and Polishing?

These procedures are often performed together as a complete treatment.

Scaling gently removes plaque and calculus or tartar deposits from the teeth by use of a mechanical or ultrasonic dental device. Tartar is simply too hard for regular brushing and flossing to manage, which makes regular visits to the dental hygienist important. 

Generally, a polish will follow which buffs out stains – although polishing doesn’t necessarily make your teeth whiter. In cases where there is gum disease, you may require root planing which is a much more thorough scaling process reaching deep between the teeth and gum to remove bacteria or calculus.

Take a look at this short video for a quick overview on the process of scaling and root planing.

Before any procedures are undertaken, however, your dental hygienist will ensure that it is suitable for your unique needs. 

An effective and thorough clean can be achieved either by hand scalers or with ultrasonic scalers, but it’s important that this procedure be done by a suitably trained professional. 

Our air polish is a great way or removing stains from tea, coffee, smoking or red wine. It is painless and quick and makes an incredibly difference to your smile. 

When done regularly, scaling and polishing are an excellent way of keeping your mouth fresh, your teeth sparkling, and your gums healthy.

Brushing Correctly

In line with the preventative care offered by dental hygienists, they will be able to let you know if they spot any issues with your home oral hygiene routine. 

We may think that brushing our teeth is a no-brainer, but some of us get it wrong. Either we’re not doing thoroughly enough, and our teeth aren’t ever ‘properly’ clean, or we’re a little overenthusiastic which can actually damage our teeth. 

Really? Is there such as thing as over-brushing?

An article from SF Perio in California sums it up nicely.

“When you brush too hard, you can wear down the outer layer of your teeth. Lost enamel means less protective coating for your teeth, which can cause your teeth to become sensitive to hot and cold. Brushing hard also damages tender gum tissue and can eventually cause it to recede, exposing sensitive tooth roots and leaving them vulnerable to periodontal disease and decay.

“Those most at risk for tooth or gum damage from overbrushing are those who brush too vigorously using medium- or hard-bristled toothbrushes. What are some signs to look for that may indicate you are overbrushing?

  • Splayed bristles on your toothbrush
  • Swollen or red gums after brushing
  • Bleeding gums
  • Gum recession”

Whether you are overbrushing, or more commonly, not cleaning your teeth effectively, our dental hygienists are available to help you to get that balance right. We make sure to educate our patients on good home care which helps to maintain oral health between visits. 

Trust Your Dental Hygienist

We’re sure that the more you know and understand the role of your dental hygienist, the more comfortable you will feel when booking your appointment with Pam or Wendy. Preventative oral health is better for you today and even more so in 20 years. 

Test us out – we know you’ll be back for more of our friendly, thorough service. 

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