The Hygienist

The dental hygienist is a specially trained member of the dental team at the Allerton Dental Practice. The hygienist plays an important role in the dental health care of our patients, treating dental disease by giving individual oral hygiene instructions to our patients.

Our hygienist has two main roles:

Scaling and polishing your teeth and teaching our patients oral hygiene techniques.

Good home care is important if gum disease and tooth decay are not to progress to more serious problems. A clean and healthy mouth will help to improve your appearance and self confidence; it will also give you fresh breath making you nice to be near.

It may surprise you to know that 77% of adults between 16-24 and 87% of adults over 55 have some degree of gum disease-there are no symptoms until it is too late- it’s never too early to start fighting back.

The Hygienist may also refer you to the oral health educator for additional advice.

Plaque and Periodontal Disease

Plaque is the name given to a film of bacteria which is constantly forming on all the teeth. Plaque causes dental caries (decay) and periodontal disease.

Everyone’s saliva contains millions of bacteria. These bacteria stick to the surface of our teeth and quickly multiply to form layers of plaque. Plaque is a soft, colourless substance which is difficult to see until the coating is quite thick. It collects on the surface of the teeth mainly next to the gums and between the teeth.

What is Periodontal Disease?

This is the general term describing inflammation of the supporting tissue of the teeth. Other terms for gum disease are “gingivitis” or “periodontal disease”

The signs of gum disease are:

Red, swollen gums which bleed when brushed. This is often the first indication of periodontal disease

Gum shrinkage and loosened teeth occur at the later stages of periodontitis also bad breath and teeth drifting apart can be a sign.

What do normal gums look like?

Normal gums have a pink, firm matte appearance. The edges cannot normally be separated from the teeth and there is no bleeding when the teeth are brushed.

Periodontal disease can sometimes go unnoticed until it is quite far advanced.

Is failure to remove plaque the only cause of periodontal disease?

Yes and No. Some people have a very strong inborn resistance and don’t experience severe periodontal disease even when their tooth cleaning is poor. Other people, although otherwise perfectly healthy, have a very low resistance to periodontal disease and have to achieve virtually perfect dental hygiene to prevent it. Most people are in between these two extremes.

Is there a cure for periodontal disease?

Yes: But the treatment will depend on how far the inflammation has reached. Teeth which are affected only by gingivitis can be treated relatively easily with very good results. The hygienist will make sure that your teeth are free from calculus and that you know how to clean them properly. After that, thorough cleaning every day will make gums pink, firm and healthy again.

Tooth brushing

Spend an extra few minutes brushing your teeth every day to keep them really clean. Choose a soft or medium (not hard) brush with a small head to reach all those difficult corners. Change your brush at least every three months. A worn out brush will not clean properly.

Brush teeth twice a day with a fluoride toothpaste to help strengthen your teeth.

Cleaning Tips

Place the bristles of the toothbrush where teeth and gums meet. Move the toothbrush back and forward using small, gentle movements. This will remove the plaque.

Don’t hurry. Make time to clean every tooth surface. Get in the habit of cleaning each part of your mouth in turn.