What is a hygienist?
Hygienists are specially trained to work with the dentist to give care to patients. They are an important part of dental health care and focus mainly on gum health – showing patients correct home care and helping to keep teeth and gums healthy.
What does the hygienist do?
The hygienist’s main job is to professionally clean your teeth. This is known as ‘scaling and polishing’. Most importantly, they show patients the best way to keep their teeth free from plaque – a sticky coating that forms constantly on your teeth. They also give advice on diet and preventing tooth decay. The hygienist works alongside your dentist to give you dental care that is tailored to your needs.
Why is this treatment important?
Regular professional cleaning by your hygienist, combined with looking after your teeth and gums properly at home, will help keep your mouth healthy. A clean and healthy mouth will improve your appearance, help you to keep your teeth and give you fresh breath.
Can a hygienist help prevent dental disease?
Yes. Carefully removing the hard deposits of tartar that build up on the teeth and teaching you how to prevent them from coming back again will do a lot to slow down the progress of gum disease but the majority of prevention comes from what you do at home during your oral care routine.
By talking about your diet, and recommending other preventive measures, the hygienist can help you to keep a routine that will slow down the rate at which your teeth decay. Regular visits and advice will help build your confidence in keeping your mouth healthy.
What other help can adults get?
Adults who have a lot of decay can benefit from having fluoride applied. There are also anti-bacterial gels and solutions that can be applied under the gum to kill the bacteria that cause gum disease.
Another very important part of the hygienist’s work is teaching you how to properly look after your mouth at home. The hygienist may also suggest giving up smoking, as this will reduce staining. Recent research has shown that smokers have more gum disease and lose more teeth than non-smokers. Your hygienist will be able to give you advice on the various ways to give up smoking.