Nowadays a patient may go directly to a hygienist for treatment without being a patient of the practice. Direct access is a recent development, part of the regulatory drive towards preventative care. It makes the access to seeing a hygienist much easier for patients. Thus the two professions work in parallel and with the same objective: that of achieving a healthy and aesthetic smile.
So why is dental hygiene treatment important and what is it? It is a specialist field of expertise which takes two to three years to train in. It involves academic study, clinical training and a dissertation. This forms the basis of preventative dental care. The objective is to prevent the naturally occurring oral bacteria from multiplying to the point which results in damage to the gums. This is known as gingivitis and is characterised by inflamed and bleeding gums. In extreme cases, such excess bacteria may result in the loss of bone, and so affect the stability of our teeth. Should this happen, the disease caused is called periodontitis, which requires specialist care. Bacteria may also cause tooth decay. In addition to such concerns, we also know through clinical research, that systemic disease is linked to poor oral health, so that it is now considered extremely important to maintain healthy teeth and gums for our general health and well being.
Hygiene treatments last for 40 or 55 minutes. In most cases twice a year is enough, but in some instances three or four times a year is recommended. Treatment is very gentle and painless. In cases of sensitivity, topical or local anaesthetic can be applied to enhance treatment, although this is not usually necessary. Dietary advice may also be given to prevent loss of tissue and sensitivity, along with technical advice such as how best to care for your teeth between visits. Children up to the age of 11 may have 30 minutes for treatment. Any child with orthodontic appliances is recommended to have regular 45 minute hygiene treatments, at 3 to 6 monthly intervals, and good oral health is considered by orthodontists to be an essential prerequisite to orthodontic treatment. All teenagers will benefit from regular hygiene treatments to establish early correct habits and good oral health.
The actual process of dental hygiene treatment involves tooth cleaning with a variety of fine hand instruments, along with modern and sophisticated ultrasonic equipment. These are designed specifically to remove bacterial deposits, both soft and hard. Stains may sometimes be entirely removed as part of this process, or additionally they may need to be removed with a state of the art prophyjet. A thorough polishing system as the final part of treatment ensures the super smooth finish which makes it harder for bacteria to adhere to the teeth, as well as giving them a beautifully shiny appearance. The aim is to give a gleaming, white and healthy smile, and to make your treatment relaxing, luxurious and enjoyable.