• Sheen Dental

Dental hygienist VS dentist; what do they do?

What's the role of a dental hygienist at our dentist Richmond? Here’s how they can help you!

Dental hygienists are often overlooked as part of the dental team but at our clinic, we value the preventative work of our hygienist in improving your smile and ensuring that more strenuous treatments are never required.


Have you ever heard the age old saying that plumbers have saved more lives than doctors? In pure numbers it's correct; the prevention of waterborne diseases have saved far more lives than any medical intervention. Similarly, a dental hygienist has the same role in our clinic; by preventing the buildup of plaque and tartar on patients' teeth, they have saved more teeth than our dentist Richmond has by performing fillings, root canals and crowns.


When it comes to the role of treating gum disease, the dental hygienist takes the lead. It requires multiple appointments in order to stay on top of an active case of gum disease and more often than not, you'll be seeing our hygienist and not our dentist Richmond for regular cleaning and polishing, as well as charting pocket pocket depth. By staying on top of the progression of gum disease and ensuring that preventative care is minimal, whole sets of teeth are saved.


There are several lifestyle choices that overlap with gum disease, and helping our patients through the necessary changes and developing good habits like smoking cessation is one of the responsibilities of our dental hygienist. We practice low discomfort dentistry at our clinic and therefore use anaesthesia with all procedures carried out either by our dental team or hygienists.


The scale and polish


The most common procedure carried out in our clinic by our hygienist is the scale and polish. It is a deep cleaning technique that can remove tartar from the teeth that ordinarily, you would not be able to remove at home.


This is done using a set of abrasive heads, which can grind off the tartar for hard-to-reach areas. Between the teeth, a dental drill is used, after which various air powered polishing tools are used to create an extremely smooth surface to the teeth. This lowers the opportunity for bacteria to find a crevice to establish themselves in and lowers the risk of future cavities, as well as slowing the build up of any future plaque.


After a scale and polish, our hygienist will discuss your oral hygiene needs, perhaps advising on the use of medicated mouthwashes or specialist toothpastes. This is particularly important if you suffer from sensitivity or extensive staining and are curious about possible treatments or management routines, like the use of interdental brushes or dental whitening. If you have pre-existing conditions like diabetes or dental imperfecta it is more important that you regularly see our hygienist, and we often encourage regular booking for high-risk patients.


We are currently accepting new patients at our clinic and if you would like more information about how our dental hygienist could help you to maintain the appearance and longevity of your teeth, please feel free to get in contact.