Many people neglect visits to the dental hygienist or substitute these appointments for visits to the dentist, believing them to have the same or very similar roles. In actual fact, your dentist and hygienist differ greatly in what they can offer you.
Just as hospitals have doctors and nurses doing different things, a dental practice has a similar parallel with dentists and hygienists who liaise and work together to offer care from differing angles. Research shows that 7/10 people in the UK do not visit their dental hygienist regularly enough and that those more prone to gum disease should be visiting their hygienist every 3-6 months.
How your hygienist’s role differs from your dentist’s
Your dentist is effectively a doctor for your teeth, possessing a broad and detailed knowledge of the anatomy of your teeth and mouth. Unlike hygienists, many dentists have a special interest in particular fields of dentistry that allows them to concentrate on providing care in specific areas, such as implants, endodontics and orthodontics.
Hygienists can identify what are often initially symptomless problems that go unnoticed by the patient. Picking up on complications with your gums at the earliest possible date is crucial in preventing the need for more complex treatment later on down the line.
Oral hygiene and gum disease
Your dental hygienist is the person most responsible for the health of your gums and will offer you advice and knowledge on how best to look after your gums. Here at Exeter Advanced Dentistry, we understand that every patient is different and Gayle our dental hygienist, will offer bespoke care and advice taking your overall health and background into account.
One of the most common treatments a hygienist carries out for patients is a deep clean of your teeth to remove staining which cannot be removed through brushing alone, commonly known as a scale and polish. This type of staining is detrimental to your tooth enamel, depriving it from oxygen and eventually causing gum gingivitis and gum disease if left untreated. Unfortunately, once your tooth enamel has worn away, it cannot grow back or repair itself, which is why hygienist appointments are so important, playing a significant preventative role in your oral health. Because much of this staining occurs on the inner side of your lower teeth (especially for smokers), it can be difficult to spot, so regular check-ups are important in catching this early to avoid more serious problems with your gums. Poor brushing techniques, lack of brushing and flossing, avoiding regular hygienist and dentist appointments and certain lifestyle choice will increase your chances of developing problems with your gums.
Make your dental hygiene your New Year’s resolution in 2018, putting your oral health first. Please get in touch with us if you would like to know more about hygienist appointments with Gayle at Exeter Advanced Dentistry.