A dental hygienist is able to help you re-gain and maintain optimal oral health. This means pink healthy gums that don’t bleed when you brush and floss, fresher breath, reduced decay risk and a longer lifespan for restorations (fillings/crowns/bridges/implants).
Dental hygienists are trained to recognise and treat gum disease, assess decay and gum disease risk factors and taylor an individualised homecare and maintenance program. This will include specific oral hygiene instruction, dietary advice as necessary and through professional debridement (scaling/cleaning).
The focus in all areas of medicine and dentistry over the past 30 years has moved away from expensive treatment and medications and towards prevention; this is what dental hygienists are trained to help with. Both gum disease and decay are preventable and are caused by bacterial deposits (plaque/bio film) on the teeth.
The bacterial bio film produces acid which results in decay and toxins which causes an inflammatory response from the immune system; this inflammation is known as gingivitis. In people with a genetic susceptibility, if the inflammation becomes chronic it can causes damage to the attachment between the tooth and gum along with bone loss around the teeth; this is called periodontal disease.
Periodontal disease is one of the leading causes of tooth loss among adults. Often there is minimal pain associated with the progression of this chronic disease process and in the past has been known as the “silent killer of teeth” with bleeding when cleaning often being the only indicator at home. The only way to assess the attachment between the tooth and gum is to gently measure the sulcus around the tooth and this is an essential part of all dental hygiene appointments.
If it has been a while since your last professional hygiene appointment and/or you have tender, inflamed and sensitive gums then topical anaesthetic gel and local anesthesia can help to make treatment comfortable.