When you visit your dentist for a routine check-up your dentist may recommend that you book an appointment with their dental hygienist. But most patients wonder why they are being referred to the hygienist and don’t often know exactly what they do.
Firstly, don’t worry. When your dentist suggests that you book in with their hygienist it isn’t because they are trying to get more money out of you by charging you for extra dental services that you may not need.
Your dentist will have a very good reason for referring you for an appointment with a dental hygienist because they can play a very important part in your oral health maintenance and can help to prevent some common dental health issues from developing or worsening with their expert care and treatment options.
Your dental hygienist can be an invaluable tool in helping you to avoid undergoing drastic dental procedures and can actually help keep your dental bills down in the long run with their preventative treatments.
Prevention is better than cure!
During your regular check-up, your dentist may spot the early signs of gum disease developing. This is when they will often make a recommendation for you to see their dental hygienist.
Developing gum disease can be very serious. This is when your gums become swollen and infected. Your gums will be prone to bleeding, especially when you brush your teeth and use floss. When left untreated, gum disease can further deteriorate the health of your gums to a point where you develop a serious condition called periodontitis.
Periodontal disease is much more serious because it directly affects the health of the bone that holds your teeth in place. Should the bone surrounding your teeth become infected, it will cause the bone to deteriorate and shrink, weakening your teeth and making them prone to work loose and even fall out.
Your dentist will be constantly on the lookout for early signs of gum disease because it is a precursor to periodontal disease. This is why they will act as early as possible by referring you to a dental hygienist.
How your dental hygienist can help
It doesn’t matter how meticulous you are about brushing and flossing your teeth, it is still possible to miss areas that need cleaning, especially if you have an overcrowded mouth or find it hard to reach all of your tooth surfaces.
Even with a top of the range electric toothbrush, your dental hygienist will have special industry-designed tools and equipment that allow them to perform a more thorough clean than you can manage by yourself at home.
Because dental hygienists are specially trained in the latest oral hygiene techniques they are able to effectively treat and manage your gum disease from a very early stage to help prevent it from developing into periodontal disease.
What treatments can my dental hygienist carry out?
Your dental hygienist can help to support your dentist and yourself through various treatments and therapies such as:
- Apply topical treatments
- Carry out oral cancer screening
- Completing a periodontal examination
- Give local analgesia
- Offer advice on smoking cessation
- Perform clinical examinations
- Perform deep cleaning above and below the gum margin
- Provide care when recovering from dental implants
- Provide preventative oral care and liaise with your dentist over treatments
- Take dental impressions for implants and braces
- Use therapies to manage oral diseases
Your dentist will often recommend booking regular independent sessions with your dental hygienist without the need to see your dentist at the same time.
Your dentist will be kept informed of your ongoing treatments with your dental hygienist so that when you book your next check-up they will be fully up to date with your progress.
You can also book in with our dental hygienist for a regular deep clean without needing to see a dentist first. This can help you to maintain your oral health and will be a good way for your dental surgery to spot any early issues developing between your scheduled dental check-ups.