During Your Hygiene Visits With Us
Let’s take a look at the differences between your initial Hygiene Visit with us, compared with your Hygiene Maintenance appointment.
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
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.