Dental hygiene or periodontal therapy is a very important part of your oral care routine and impacts your overall health. Cleaning that removes the buildup of plaque and tartar which cause cavities, diseases of the gums, and bone loss is critical. Current research shows periodontal diseases also put us at risk for serious illnesses such as diabetes, lung and heart diseases, and stroke. Dental hygiene is about both prevention and addressing current oral health concerns.
What to Expect at a Hygiene Visit
Your dental hygienist is a practiced, licensed, and trained professional whose expertise is periodontal therapy. During your visit, he or she will thoroughly clean your teeth and gums while providing educational support. Here’s what you can expect at your visit:
For all new patients, and every 12-18 months for existing patients, our hygienists perform a periodontal evaluation. This diagnostic tool:
Assesses the health of the mouth
Allows the hygienist to identify the presence of disease
Allows the hygienist to treatment plan the best care, tailored to the needs of the individual
Provides critical supporting information to dentists
Examines periodontal health on the basis of teeth, plaque, gums, bite, bone structure and levels, risk factors, disease potential, and disease management
Scaling and Root Planing
Scaling is non-surgical periodontal therapy performed either by hand or by ultrasonic Cavitron. Using precision dental tools, your hygienist will perform scaling and root planing to remove plaque and tartar both above and below the gumline.
An initial visit usually consists of 3 units of dental scaling. Scaling is measured in units of time, so 1 unit is equivalent to 15 minutes. Depending on how long it’s been since your last cleaning, and how much buildup is present on the teeth and gums, more than 3 units of scaling may be necessary. If this is the case, and more time is required, your hygienist will arrange for additional visits and explain your periodontal care program. Remember that your scaling requirements are unique to you and consistent, routine care is the best approach for a healthy smile.
Polish and Fluoride
At a 6 or 12 month interval and at the end of your cleaning visit, your hygienist will polish your teeth and provide a fluoride treatment. Polishing smooths the surfaces of your teeth, removing extrinsic stains and making it more difficult for plaque and tartar to accumulate. Fluoride helps prevent tooth decay by making the teeth more resistant to risk factors.
Maintaining Your Smile
Our dentists and hygienists recommend a consistent home care routine complimented by regular visits to see us. An excellent toothbrush, like one offered by Philips Sonicare®, is a fantastic tool when caring for your teeth between hygiene appointments. Our team uses these brushes and loves them. Flossing manually with an easy glide wax or with an electric option like the Waterpik® water flosser will remove food and plaque that regular brushing leaves behind.
Speak with our team to find out more about which products might be right for you. We carry a range of options to suit your unique needs.
Book an appointment today.