Dental hygiene treatment is delivered by a specially trained dental hygienist who will help to remove any hard-to-reach plaque from your teeth that may have built up over time. They can also help with gum disease treatment and prevention and give you advice on keeping your teeth and gums healthy.
Here is what you can expect from a hygiene appointment:
Your teeth and gums will be assessed to determine the amount of plaque removal you will need and risk factors will be highlighted.
Your teeth will be professionally cleaned with special equipment and pastes. This process is also known as scaling and polishing.
The hygienist's role is to show you how to look after your teeth so that they remain free from plaque in the future. You will be advised on the best tooth brushing technique and given tips on flossing and using interdental brushes.
Gum Disease Treatment
It is imperative that the gum disease is kept under control and eradicated, if it isn't then it can progress into the more serious periodontal disease which can then lead to tooth loss.
In its early stages the treatment for gum disease is simply to alter your oral health care routine to ensure your teeth are cleaned properly each day. If gum disease has progressed then you may require a deep cleaning which can only be performed by a hygienist.
If the gum disease is in its latter stages then the cleaning may need to be performed surgically by a periodontist.
As the gum disease progresses and the treatment becomes more complex it also has a tendency to become more expensive and more uncomfortable, it is therefore in your own interest to ensure that gum disease remains under control with healthy, bright and fresh gums.
Gum Disease Symptoms
The first symptoms of gum disease are red, inflamed or puffy gums. This is usually caused by irritation from the tartar which has built up in between the teeth.
In these early stages you may also notice blood when you spit out toothpaste after cleaning, this will be even more prevalent if you were to use floss or an interdental brush/stick.
As the gum disease progresses this bleeding can become worse, unfortunately what often happens is that because cleaning causes distress people clean even less, this leads to a progression of the gum disease at an increased rate.
What happens if I don't get gum disease treated?
Gum disease progresses painlessly on the whole so it can become a serious condition before you realise. If it's not treated the inflammation and infection can spread deeper down under the gum towards the tooth root. This can then lead to tooth loss.
There have also been studies which show a link between periodontal disease and cardiovascular disease. The exact nature of this link is not fully understood however it is thought that the pathogens involved in periodontal disease are gateway bacteria which can then travel around the body and start the cardiovascular disease process.
There is therefore a very strong link between oral health and heart disease, as well as a range of other health issues such as:
Respiratory Disease - the pathogens which cause respiratory disease are also present in dental plaque.
Diabetes - the presence of any gum inflammation can make it more difficult for a diabetic to control their blood sugar.
Ulcers - the bacteria that are present in your mouth when gum disease is present are also the same bacteria which have been shown to cause gastric ulcers. If the bacteria in the mouth remained unchecked then these can travel to the stomach.
Pre-term birth - it has been shown that women with gum disease are up to 8 times more likely to give birth prematurely to underweight babies. It is believed that this is caused by the gum disease releasing inflammatory chemicals into the bloodstream which then cause the preterm birth. Low-grade gum inflammation is all that is required for this to happen.
How often to visit the hygienist?
Dental hygiene at our practice also functions preventatively to treat gum disease and bad breath. If you have a bridge, denture, orthodontic treatment or a dental implant you will have specific hygiene needs that the hygienist will be able to assist you with.
It is recommended that you come in for regular hygiene appointments usually twice per year, to ensure your mouth stays clean and healthy.
Minimised risk of tooth loss.
Reduced risk of developing tooth decay and need for fillings.
A healthy mouth is a healthy body.
Fresh minty breath.