Dental Hygiene in Melbourne, Prevention is Better than a Cure
At Carnegie Dental Group our aim is to provide you with the best opportunity to maintain the health of your teeth and gums for life. Our dental hygienists not only clean and polish your teeth; they also provide you with individually tailored instructions and tools to perform optimal oral hygiene procedures at home. Our hygienists are gentle, caring and create a comfortable environment in which you can be relaxed and enjoy the best treatments available.
What is the Hygienist’s Role in Dental Practice?
Hygienists perform four main functions:
- Teaching patients oral hygiene techniques on an individual basis. This one-on-one instruction includes care for your gums and teeth, and advice on a healthy diet to prevent dental disease.
- Evaluation, assessment and treatment of your periodontal (gum) tissue, including x-ray discussion and review of medical history
- Scaling and polishing of teeth as well as a wide variety of whitening treatments
- Application of decay prevention agents.
Why have a “Scale and Clean”?
Do you know why dentists recommend a scale and clean regularly? It’s about the health of your teeth. It’s about getting the plaque and the calculus off your teeth.
Plaque is sticky, soft and usually an off-white colour. With the correct brushing and flossing plaque can be removed. However, if you don’t clean the plaque off, the bacteria release toxins that will irritate your gums—this bacteria produces the acid which causes tooth decay. With a scale and clean from one of our Dental Hygienists, we can get rid of the plaque from those places that is difficult to get to with a toothbrush and floss.
Calculus (more commonly referred to as tartar) is different to plaque in that it is a hard, calcified build-up. And it can’t be removed with brushing and flossing. If plaque is not cleaned off your teeth the minerals in your saliva will deposit in the plaque making it calcified. Calculus can only be removed by a dentist or dental hygienist—this is the scaling part of a scale and clean.
Staining is less of a health problem and more of an aesthetic one. It happens because of drinks like tea, coffee, wine, in addition to food like chocolate and habits such as smoking.
Our hygienists not only clean and polish your teeth; they also provide you with individually tailored instructions and tools to perform optimal oral hygiene procedures at home. In addition, they perform treatment for periodontal disease, teeth whitening and take radiographs to check for bone levels underneath your gums. By combining a proper at-home oral hygiene routine with regular check-ups you have a better chance of maintaining your natural teeth for longer.
Initial Hygiene Visit:
At your initial visit with the Dental Hygienist, an assessment of your gums will be performed which will include taking measurements of your periodontal (gum) pockets, any areas around the gums which have receded and any signs of inflammation/infection including bleeding and pus coming from the gums. Gum pockets within 1-3mm indicate healthy gums. Gum inflammation and bone loss around teeth could cause the gum pockets to open up causing deep gum pockets. Generally, the deeper the gum pockets are, the more serious the condition. X-rays may be necessary to determine if any bone loss has occurred below the gum line where you cannot see. Following the assessment, the Hygienist will determine if your cleaning habits are appropriate and will tailor your cleaning routine to suit your needs. They will then do a scale a clean of your teeth to remove all the calculus and plaque deposits and polish off any extrinsic staining. A fluoride or enamel varnish will be applied at the end of the visit which will help your enamel to stay strong and fight against decay-causing bacteria and erosion.
Calculus (hardened plaque) cannot be removed by conventional tooth brushing methods and would need regular professional cleaning by our dental hygienists to remove it. Essentially, the longer the calculus is left on the teeth, the higher the risk of damage to the gums. Our dental hygienists uses an ultrasonic scaler that dislodges the bacterial plaque and calculus before it can lead to periodontal damage. Staining is removed via high powered brushing and sandblasting. Your teeth will feel, taste and smell cleaner and fresher.
A scale and the clean procedure is recommended for most people at 6 monthly intervals. Those with advanced stages or higher risk of gum disease will need more regular intervals. Our Hygienists will recommend how often you need to have your Hygiene appointments depending on a few factors including:
- Your cleaning habits and how well you clean at home
- Your susceptibility to plaque and calculus buildup
- If you are a smoker
- The severity of the gum disease at the initial visit
- Diet-related; if you consume a lot of staining foods and drinks (red wine, coffee, tea, etc.)
- If there are any systemic health factors involved
Our Oral Hygiene Treatments Include:
What You Can Do at Home
Looking after your oral health at home is fairly straightforward. By brushing your teeth twice a day and flossing your teeth at least once a day you are helping to keep your teeth clean. Other things you can do are drink plenty of water—as this helps to rinse your mouth of food particles—and chew sugar-free gum after lunch. Refraining from too many sugary drinks and foods like soft drink and chocolate is also a good way to maintain healthy teeth.
If you’re curious about the importance of flossing, consider this: when you brush your teeth you are missing about 30% of your tooth. By flossing and brushing you are able to clean the whole tooth and reduce the risk of decay.
You should visit Carnegie Dental Group every six months. With a regular scale and clean we can help you maintain optimal oral hygiene, preventing any problems from becoming serious. Visiting the dentist only when the pain is bad can end up costing you a lot. And not just financially. Having a filling is better than needing root canal therapy; and root canal therapy is better than losing a tooth.
The best thing for your oral health is keeping your natural teeth, as each tooth plays a role in the health of your gums and jawbone. When you bite the pressure helps stimulate jawbone health, stopping it from shrinking. If you were to lose tooth the bone that holds the tooth root in place starts to atrophy and this has long term effects not only on your jawbone but also on your gums and your remaining teeth.
Dental Hygiene Melbourne
The CDG is now open late nights! We are opened until 7pm on Tuesdays & Wednesdays.