What is a Hygienist?
Dental hygienists are specially trained to work with the dentist to provide the proper necessary care for patients in order to make their experience pleasant.
They play an important role in dental health care and are mainly concerned with gum health, showing people correct home care and applying preventive materials to the teeth and gums.
What is the Hygienist’s role in the practice?
The hygienists main role is to professionally clean the teeth for the patient. This is usually called scaling and polishing. However, perhaps their most important role is showing the patient the best way to keep the teeth free of plaque. They also give advice on diet and preventing dental decay. The hygienist will work with your dentist to provide care tailored to your needs.
Why doesn’t the Dentist do this work?
Some dentists will carry out this type of work. However, many now recognize that the hygienist has been specially trained to carry out scaling and polishing and are also experts at teaching you how to look after your teeth and gums. Often the hygienist will spend a number of appointments, getting the gums prepped and ready for the dentists to restore the teeth with crowns and fillings.
Can a Hygienist help prevent dental disease?
This is what the training of the hygienist is all about. Carefully removing the deposits that build up on the teeth (tartar) and teaching you how to prevent it reforming again, will go a long way to slowing the progress of gum disease.
By discussing your diet, and recommending other preventive measures, tooth decay can also be slowed down. Regular visits and advice will help build your confidence in maintaining your oral health and achieving a healthy mouth.
What other help can be given to adults?
Adults can also 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.Another very important part of the hygienists work is giving regular instruction and advice on home care. The hygienist may also suggest giving up smoking, as this will reduce staining. Recent research has also shown that smokers have more gum disease and lose more teeth than non-smokers. Your hygienist will be able to advise you on various ways of giving up smoking.
Will the treatment hurt?
Scaling and polishing are usually pain-free. However, if you do have any discomfort the hygienist can use anesthetic creams, or give you some local anesthetic. It is important that you let the hygienist know at the time, so they can help with your pain.