Why should I see the dental hygienist?
We all know the importance of brushing and flossing in order to maintain a healthy smile. Your at-home oral hygiene routine is vital to preventing a build-up of plaque. Plaque is a layer of soft debris that bacteria call home. Plaque regularly forms in between teeth, on the biting surfaces, and along the gum line. Regular cleaning with a toothbrush and floss helps remove plaque and prevents gum disease and decay. However, bacteria can thrive in places difficult to reach on our own which is where the dental hygienist steps in.
Gum Disease and Healthy Gums
Bacteria can penetrate deep below the gum line which can be difficult to remove. Over time this leads to inflammation and develops into gum disease. Gum disease is a very common affliction, and in most cases is reversible with intervention if caught in the early stages. In serious cases however it is not possible to reverse the effects, and intervention is required to stave off further deterioration. Gum disease is preventable with an effective at-home dental care routine and regular visits with a dental hygienist. Left untreated gum disease can lead to bone loss, loose/wiggly teeth, and ultimately loss of teeth. Untreated gum disease can also flare up leading to abscesses and painful gums.
What does a Dental Hygienist do?
Most people think the hygienist’s job is to give our mouth a really good clean. They’re not wrong, but a hygienist’s role involves a bit more than a scale and polish. The dental hygienist focuses on the health of your gums and what is going on underneath them. They do this by measuring levels of the gum and jawbone, and checking for build-ups of plaque and tartar/calculus. Hygienists also assess your home care routine and offer personalised advice on how to improve things. The cleaning portion of the session focuses on the difficult-to-reach areas, such as below the gum line and behind the back teeth, but it’s your job to keep on top of cleaning the rest!
How often should I see a hygienist?
Everyone has different needs when it comes to dental hygiene, and the hygienist will advise you on how often you should be visiting. For the most part, you should be seen every 6-12 months, but the hygienist may recommend you be seen more or less frequently. The dental hygienist is a lot like getting your car serviced: it helps maintain your oral health and catch the warning signs of issues arising. Our Wellington practice has two hygienists on staff to keep up with our patients’ needs. We also have a hygienist available on Saturdays!
Click here to book an appointment with our Dental hygienist