Visiting the Hygienist

After your check-up, follow up with a hygiene appointment, where our therapists will follow a specific treatment plan devised by the dentist to target problem areas.

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Step 1: Assessment

Hygiene Centre | Fresh Breath | Hygienist Therapist | Dental Plan | Periodontal Program

The hygienist will look at your radiographs (X-rays), Periodontal Charting, history and dental notes to provide you with a treatment that frees your mouth from decay or alleviates symptoms of gum disease.

We’ll assess:

  • The pocketing or detachment of the gum from the tooth.
    This involves a special probe to measure in mm how much deterioration has occurred around a tooth. We usually measure six points around each tooth (a 6-point pocket).
  • The level of plaque on the teeth.
    We will score how much plaque is visible on the surface of each tooth. We can then calculate a percentage of plaque present in your mouth.
  • Number of points around a tooth that easily bleeds.
    This is an important measurement that denotes how much inflammation is present. 

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Step 2: Detailed Look at Your existing Restorations

The hygienist will then examine your existing restorations, for example fillings, bridgework, crowns, veneers, implants and braces to look for any food and plaque stagnation areas. These will be areas of your mouth that are difficult to keep clean.

Step 3: Investigation

Next, the hygienist may decide to use a special dye to highlight parts of your mouth which are collecting plaque. This is very helpful to many patients as they can visually see the plaque stagnation areas so they can work more diligently on those sections of the mouth when toothbrushing.

Step 4: Full Mouth Descale

There is a huge array of techniques to treat gum disease. However, most treatments involve removing plaque and tartar. Plaque and tarter contain bacteria and food debris that, more often than not solidifies onto the tooth surface only to attract more plaque. 

The first stage of treatment involves root scaling and planing to remove any plaque and tartar – it’s not painful as the hygienist will keep above the gum line. Plus, we’ll use special instruments like descalers and ultrasonic devices to remove hardened plaque to give your gums a deep clean. 

To finish the treatment, we will polish your teeth to remove the transparent bio-layer – a protein which binds plaque to the tooth’s surface. Hence, your teeth can remain plaque free for a while.

Step 5: Deeper Descaling

In cases of greater gum detachment, we will carry out a full mouth descale and administer local anaesthetic to conduct a deeper descaling of the tooth’s root surfaces below the gum line.

A detached gum or “pocket” means an infection present that will be difficult for the patient to clean. Any pocket greater than 4mm will require this type of work. Once the infection has been removed, then the gum will heal back onto the tooth.

You may find that your gums may be a little sore after this treatment. You will be advised to do warm, salty mouthwashes or use a fluoride mouthwash afterwards. This is the standard first level of treatment when any pocketing exists.

Plans for the Next Stage

The hygienist will show you how to clean your teeth and what tools will be best for you. For example, there are so many variations of interdental brushes, flosses and mouthwashes that our hygienists will help you select the most appropriate tools for the job.

After your treatment, the hygienist will discuss with you your exact home regime to follow and what will be done on your next visit. Home care is critical to help you keep your teeth, gums and mouth healthy at all times.

The hygienist will show you how to clean your teeth and the best tools for you. For example, there are so many variations of interdental brushes, flosses and mouthwashes that our hygienists will help you select the most appropriate tools for the job.

The hygienist will also discuss how many visits you will need to complete your treatment. For some patients you may be put onto a specific periodontal program to cater for the type of gum disease present.

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