Hygiene appointments are equally as essential to your oral health as routine check-ups. They are the best line of defence against gum disease, which is the leading cause of tooth loss in the UK.
What is gum disease?
Build-ups of plaque and tartar on the surface of your teeth can attract bacteria. If not removed, it can cause the gums to become inflamed and sometimes bleed when you brush your teeth. This is the main symptom of gum disease and is what you should look out for. This stage of gum disease is known as gingivitis.
If this is left untreated, it can lead to recession of the gums. This can cause pockets to develop and eventually leads to loosening of the teeth. This stage of gum disease is called periodontitis. Unlike gingivitis, this stage isn’t curable but can be maintained through regular visits to the hygienist.
By regularly visiting our dental hygienists and getting professional cleaning, you’re less likely you are to develop gum disease.
What happens during a hygiene appointment?
During a hygiene appointment, the health of your gums and teeth will be assessed. This will involve looking for any signs of swelling, inflammation or bleeding. The hygienist may also take measurements of where the gum attaches to the tooth and check for signs of oral cancer.
One of the main aspects of the hygienist’s role is to carry out a ‘scale and polish’, a thorough clean of the teeth to remove plaque and tartar build-up. Scaling (removing tartar) also makes it easier to keep teeth clean as there is no longer a rough surface to attract more plaque. This deep clean will be finished off with a polish to leave teeth shiny and smooth.
Hygienists also offer helpful oral hygiene advice and how to maintain good dental hygiene by demonstrating how to keep your teeth clean and plaque-free with toothbrushes, interdental brushes and floss.
For younger patients, hygienists can apply fluoride varnishes to strengthen enamel or fissure sealants, which provide a protective barrier to stop bacteria from settling in the narrow fissures of the back teeth. These treatments offer a protective measure for young teeth when they first start to emerge.
Regularly visiting a hygienist will help you maintain healthy teeth and gums, as well as protect your overall well-being. Poor gum health has been linked to more serious conditions, such as heart disease and diabetes.