Dental hygienists and how they can help you
Our family dentist in West Byfleet provides a full range of services to our patients, and not least is the contribution made by our in-practice hygienist. So what exactly does our dental hygienist do? And how can we help you and your family?
With our dentist in West Byfleet, our team has a division of labour between different specialties; general, preventive, restorative and cosmetic. This allows our dental team to focus on their specialty, applying themselves to a patient’s needs in a more efficient and cost-effective way.
The role of the dental hygienist
Dental hygienists are well qualified, but are rarely fully fledged general dentists. They have a central role in the dental health of our younger patients; they act as a teacher and mentor, introducing the fundamentals of brushing and of caring for their teeth, minimising the need for later intervention. They will also perform an informal examination of the mouth and flag up any issue to be further explored with the dentist.
The most common procedure that hygienists carry out is the ‘scale and polish’, where they systematically remove any calcified plaque; this is old dental tartar. Once this has been removed by abrasion, a more gentle air polisher passes over all the surfaces of the teeth giving them a smooth surface which not only looks great, but makes it difficult for bacteria to stick to and form cavities.
Hygienists can also perform charting roles like measuring pocket depth.
Charting allows changes in dental health to be monitored over time, so that symptoms which do not require immediate attention can be focused on and advice on prevention is recorded. At the next session, further charting occurs with the progression and speed of the observed issue. It is because of charting or perhaps a mixture of charting and a certain manner that dentists are associated with nagging or being judgemental. We ensure that all of our staff are trained to be sympathetic and aware of these possible pitfalls; we aim to run a welcoming and productive dentist in West Byfleet where all of our patients feel welcomed.
What is a typical session like with our hygienist?
During a typical session with the hygienist, they will focus on any build-up of plaque and tartar on the teeth. If minor, the patient will simply be congratulated on maintaining their teeth and that is the end of it.
If the build-up is significant, the patient will be offered a scale and polish. This will quickly and rapidly remove the tartar from the teeth that you would not be able to get off at home. Our hygienist does this using specialist abrasive equipment; the shade of tartar is quite dark and it has a habit of staining. There will be a side effect of lightening your teeth. Once the tartar has been removed and the underlying enamel polished, the tooth adds a shiny lustre to your smile. But remember, this is done for medical reasons, it's just an interesting and aesthetically pleasing side effect.
After a scale and polish, the hygienist will leave you with a little advice on how to maintain your teeth and to avoid further build-ups from occurring. In order to reduce future treatment, you may be advised to alter your diet, use a toothpaste with a different strength and perhaps even use interdental brushes.