What is a hygienist?
A hygienist is a member of the dental team who provides care for all patients, focusing on preventing dental disease and promoting a good standard of oral health. Dental problems can range from tooth-related conditions such as decay and acid erosion to gum disease and gum recession. A hygienist will work to encourage and educate patients to prevent these where possible and when necessary refer a patient to other members of the dental team for further treatment.
Periodontal (gum) health is a major focus for a hygienist and they are trained to identify the presence of periodontal disease and help a patient get the appropriate treatment. For plaque related periodontal disease a hygienist will instruct a patient on the most appropriate way of controlling plaque in their daily oral hygiene routine and remove hardened plaque along with any staining on their teeth in practice.
Why is seeing a hygienist so important?
Many dental diseases, including periodontal disease, are typically symptomless until the disease has progressed to an advanced stage by which time more extensive treatment is needed. When dental diseases are detected early they can be treated straight away which generally involves less invasive treatment. Plaque related periodontal disease, if left untreated, may lead to tooth infection, mobility and tooth loss.
It is also vital to have hardened plaque removed from the teeth regularly as this holds bacteria close to the gum line causing inflammation in the gums. A hygienist will also give advice on how to reduce the build-up of hardened plaque. Aesthetically, staining should be removed from the teeth to ensure the teeth do not appear discoloured.
What are the possible consequences of not seeing a hygienist?
The science behind dental care is constantly developing and researchers are regularly discovering new ways of keeping our mouths healthy. As dental clinicians, we are regularly learning the latest evidence-based research into maintaining good oral health which we pass on to our patients. By not seeing a hygienist regularly a patient may miss out on the best ways of keeping their mouths healthy along with having significant amounts of hardened plaque and staining building up on the teeth.
What makes seeing a hygienist at Weybridge Dental Practice unique?
At WDP we focus on making a hygiene appointment as pleasant as possible. Historically methods of plaque removal, in practice, have sometimes been traumatic for patients however we now use much more gentle methods of plaque removal and appointments are as patient-led as possible.
How you link in with the periodontist
When plaque related periodontal disease is identified by a hygienist or dentist, depending on the stage and progression of the disease, it may be appropriate to refer a patient to a periodontist. A periodontist is a dentist who has specialist knowledge, skills and a broad range of treatments available to treat the disease. Both the patient, periodontist and hygienist work together to stabilise and treat the disease. Hygiene appointments support the periodontist’s treatment by helping the patient with their daily plaque control and at regular appointments breaking up the bacterial biofilms that cause periodontitis.