The importance of visiting the dental hygienist
The dental hygienist plays just as important a role in looking after your teeth as the dentist does. Many people, when they think of a hygienist, picture a professional tooth clean – often known as a scale and polish. Whilst this is one of the hygienist’s important roles, in fact there is a lot more that they do, too.
Last year, the General Dental Council (GDC) relaxed the rules on dental hygiene appointments, meaning that you no longer need to visit a dentist before seeing the hygienist. At Downham Market Dental Care in Norfolk we believe that looking after your oral health should be as easy as possible, and accessible to all. That’s why we offer direct access appointments with our skilled and friendly hygienist.
As mentioned, thoroughly cleaning your teeth is an important part of the dental hygienists remit. Even those of us with excellent home brushing and flossing routines are likely to have areas that are hard to reach, and it is here that plaque and tartar can build up. A professional scale and polish will remove all traces of both tartar and plaque, which are major causes of gum disease, dental decay, and tooth loss.
Another important function the hygienist provides is to help you develop a more efficient cleaning regime at home. This may include teaching you how to use special tools such as interdental brushes to get to those hard-to-reach areas, which type of toothpaste to use, and advice on tooth brushing technique. It can also include dietary advice, including how to cut down on sugar in your diet, which will improve your oral and general health.
Hygienists are also excellent at removing common stains from the teeth, which may enable you to brighten up your smile without the need for teeth whitening (an excellent option for pregnant and breastfeeding patients, who are advised to avoid teeth whitening).
Sometimes the hygienist can also carry out teeth whitening procedures, although this always has to be on a dentist’s prescription.
Helping to avoid tooth loss and gum disease are vitally important to protecting your general as well as your dental health, because gum disease has been linked to many conditions whilst tooth loss can affect your diet.