Our dental hygienist and preventive dental care
Our dental hygienist Richmond has become a cornerstone of preventive dental care in the clinic, performing fluoride treatments, as well as the staple ‘scale and polish’. This might make them seem like a modest member of the dental team, but preventive care does far more to preserve the health and wellbeing of our patients than any of the interventions that our dentist may have to make to mitigate damage that has already been done.
Treatments carried out
The quintessential treatment associated with hygiene specialists is the scale and polish, sometimes described as an intensive or deep clean. The scale and polish allows removal of tartar, a very hard calcified form of plaque that cannot be removed at home. Tougher areas of tartar are removed with a dental drill before smaller areas are scraped off with a rotary drill piece, leaving a cleaned tooth without disturbing the enamel, which is finally polished with a buffing drill to create a glossy, glass smooth surface.
Removal of this tartar helps prevent gum disease and the eventual tooth loss that comes with it, as well as significantly improving the appearance, often lightening and brightening your smile.
Fluoride sealants have a dual role of providing a high concentration of fluoride close to the tooth, where it can diffuse into the enamel, whilst also smoothing and providing a protective barrier between the tooth and the environment inside the mouth. This reduces acid damage and minimises the adhesion of bacteria.
This is in contrast to fissure sealants (which are placed on the upper surface of molars in order to minimise the available space for detritus to accumulate) that do not have an active ingredient and do not cover a significant surface area of the tooth. They prevent future decay simply by filling the fissure at the top of the molar denying the opportunity for bacteria to become established.
Hygiene specialists may also carry out preparation procedures like X-rays or operating suction in the same way as a dental assistant might, in order to better support the dentist and aid in the general service of the patients and smooth operation of the clinic.
Referred to the hygiene specialist?
Most referrals to the hygiene specialists are to do with a long-term management of gum disease.This requires regular charting of the progress of the disease and interventions to be well scheduled in order to save time with the dentist and give you the widest possible booking options. It is far easier to have this charting done by our dental hygienist Richmond and then recorded in your medical history for the dentist to make a determination on when and if further procedures are required.
Role in children's dentistry
Our dental hygienist Richmond’s role in children's dentistry is education orientated; the need for preventive care in children's dentistry is not a minor one. Valid use of high fluoride sealant on newly erupting teeth to aid with the calcification and enamel formation are beneficial and can prevent the teeth from succumbing to decay. We can also provide advice to parents on how to minimise sugar in their children's diet and provide them with specialised toothpaste if needed.