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  • Writer's pictureSheen Dental

How our dental hygienist saves teeth

Want a shiny smile and healthy gums? Here is a brief rundown as to why dental hygiene and preventive care from our hygienist Richmond are the cornerstones of a healthy mouth and longevity of your teeth.

What actually is dental hygiene?


There are many dental hygiene practices like brushing, flossing and using mouthwash that you've probably been familiar with for a very long time. But have you ever wondered why? What actually is dental hygiene? How does it vary from person to person? And what's it all for?


Ecosystem inside your mouth


Your mouth is a complex ecosystem, from the wide open planes of the tongue to the deep crevices between teeth, to the saliva-swept cliffs on the edge of an incisor. Each of these environments is populated by thousands of bacterial species, competing, predating and reproducing.


Many coexist peacefully with their mouth-based environment and a few that deliberately exploit that environment are often kept in check by the struggle for limited space and resources with their more clement kin. But occasionally, this balance is interrupted and a particular species will explode in number whilst parasitically damaging tooth and gum tissues, like porphyromonas gingivalis; a small and unremarkable anaerobic bacteria named after the condition it causes once its population has exploded out of control - gingivitis.


Home hygiene rituals that you probably know well provide stewardship of the mouth's environment, a regular cleansing and restart of the great microbial battle to populate the environment with no particular dominant species being the perpetual goal.


Dental hygiene treatment at Sheen Dental


Our hygienist Richmond treatments are there to act as a backstop for the limitations of home hygiene. With our hygiene team's signature procedure, the scale and polish, a deep cleaning that involves removing calcified tartar. This is a hardened form of plaque which is akin to a coral reef of our oral environment and is made up of long-deceased bacteria in a calcified network. Its strong adhesion to enamel makes it very difficult to remove at home without damaging teeth, but allowing it to persist gives a strong foothold and a safe haven for bacteria to survive brushing and go on to attack both the teeth and the gum.


These cleanings are carried out in three phases. During the first, the bulk of the tartar is removed using a sculpting drill bit and a standard dental drill. This leaves the remainder that is closely adhered to the enamel surface that cannot be safely removed without a fine tool.


The next is an abrasion wheel which acts as tiny sanding discs moved over the large surfaces of the tooth; their edges can protrude between teeth and even under the gum line, removing fine tartar of the tooth whilst doing minimal damage to the enamel surface.


The final step is the use of a buffing tool. It creates a high lustre to the tooth surface that clearly has aesthetic value, but is clinically relevant providing a featureless, glassy surface giving nothing for bacteria to anchor themselves too and establish plaque in the first place.


If you're looking for a hygienist Richmond, feel free to get in contact with the clinic as we are currently accepting new patients and would be happy to hear from you.

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