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  • Writer's pictureSheen Dental

The essential role your dental hygienist: they do more than simply clean your teeth

Most dental clinics, like ours at Sheen Dental, have both a dentist and an oral hygienist who work closely together, and while their roles overlap, the one engages in general dentistry, while the other, the hygienist specialises in preventative dentistry.

Preventative dentistry is not merely keeping your teeth clean, but prevents gum disease and tooth decay from occurring by removing plaque build up found in the crevices of your teeth and gums. At the same time, our hygienist in Richmond is a teacher who will educate you on dental care and the significance of changing your lifestyle, eating, smoking and drinking habits, for the sake of a healthy mouth.

Screening and reporting findings

As previously mentioned, dentists and hygienists work hand-in-hand, and while you wait for the dentist, the hygienist is likely to perform a quick exam on your teeth, mouth and gums, and report his or her findings to the dental practitioner. If it is proven that your oral health is poor, a later date for a more extensive exam to identify the source of the problem is provided to you. The outcome of this will determine the necessary treatment.

Types of treatments

While a hygienist has various roles to play, a significant focus is on periodontal therapy; the prevention and treatment of oral diseases and infections.

Gingivitis is a gum disease in its early stages, accompanied by inflamed, red gums that easily bleed and bad breath that cannot be cured with mouthwash. These unsightly gums will not only cause you to become self-conscious about your appearance but are detrimental to your health. Gingivitis can lead to severe periodontal disease if left untreated, caused by your gums breaking away from your teeth, resulting in bone loss and teeth beyond repair.

Scaling, also known as deep cleaning, is a non-surgical procedure that treats gum disease by removing calcified plaque built up above and below the gum line using handheld or ultrasonic instruments. Anaesthesia administered through an injection numbs the infected area, meaning you will not feel pain or discomfort throughout the procedure.

Possible risks of scaling

If you are in overall good health, you will reap the rewards of plaque-free gums. That said, there are risks involved if you have heart problems, liver disease and other serious illnesses that compromise the immune system, such as HIV/AIDS.

Scaling releases bacteria into the bloodstream, spreading them through the body. With a weakened immunity, certain precautions need to be taken for the procedure to take place. It is in your best interest to divulge your full medical history to your hygienist in Richmond.

Patient education

It is not enough to have your gums treated and be on your way because you will fall into your old habits that initially caused the problem. Post-treatment, your hygienist in Richmond will guide you in modifying your behaviour, so that you can look forward to healthy gums the rest of your life.

More than just a person in a mask that cleans and polish your teeth, our oral hygienist protects your teeth from a slew of preventable diseases and will teach you to prioritise your oral health and hygiene.


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