On visiting my dentist recently, they suggested that a visit to the dental hygienist would help support my oral health and hygiene. Having not visited the hygienist before, I was unsure about what exactly to expect. I was unsure about whether the appointment was simply involve a thorough clean of my teeth, or whether there would be more to it than that. Today’s article considers some of the key questions that many of us have about visiting the dental hygienist, and aims to clarify exactly what we should expect.
Dental hygienists are specially trained and qualified members of the dental team. They are not dentists, and do not have the same role as a dentist. Rather their aim is to keep gums and teeth healthy by treating and preventing gum disease, and by stopping other dental problems from occurring. They also have a supportive role in that they work to improve gum health of patients in preparation for the dentist to carry out work at a later stage.
Dental hygienists have several ways in which they can support us with our oral health. Their primary role is to carry out a ‘scale and polish’. This is when they professionally clean our teeth removing plaque and tartar. Hygienists can also give advice and support in helping us learn how to best clean our teeth at home, to prevent build-up of plaque. This advice is individualised for the specific patient and can include support in learning to floss or use interdental brushes correctly, and choosing the right brush and toothpaste for you.
In addition, hygienists can support with other matters as well. Dependent upon their specific qualifications, and where they are working (and the laws that govern their place of work), they might be able to take x-rays, apply fissure sealants or carry out tooth whitening.
Although it is hoped that visits to the hygienist are pain free, some people may experience slight discomfort during their treatment. However, there are lots of options to help alleviate this. There are a variety of anaesthetic creams available which can numb affected areas. Your hygienist will be happy to talk through the options with you.
Because all treatment plans are tailored to the individual, there is not a set price list. Prices are calculated on the basis of the number of appointments and the type of work done. Book in a consultation and a written quote will be provided.
Although visiting the hygienist for the first time may feel like a step into the unknown, regular trips can be a really good idea, and can really support your overall oral hygiene and health. Not only that, but appointments can help to pick up a treat problems earlier on, before they require more in depth treatment from your dentist.