Without the regular removal of this tartar, you are at a higher risk of developing gum disease, which can lead to further issues.
Some signs of gum disease are quite obvious, but some people may show no signs at all, meaning regular dental check ups and hygienist appointments are important to catch and treat any issues before they get worse. If left untreated, the gum irritation can lead to long-term problems including bone recession and tooth loss.
Regular trips to the hygienist for a professional teeth clean, combined with a good oral hygiene routine at home, are the best way to ensure your teeth stay healthy and strong.
The role of a dental hygienist is:
Dental hygiene therapists are also fully qualified to undertake routine dental treatments, such as oral assessments, fillings, x-rays and impressions. For children, a hygiene appointment is a great opportunity for their teeth to be fully checked and educate them on how to look after their teeth as they grow.
Gum disease is a common condition which can be hard to spot in the early stages, as many people have no symptoms. However, if build-ups of plaque around the gum line aren’t removed, the gums become inflamed, red and swollen - a sign of an early stage of gum disease, gingivitis. This is also characterised by bleeding gums when brushing.
If gingivitis is left untreated, the gums start to recede and lead to pockets developing between the gum and tooth, exposing the vulnerable tooth root. Plaque and tartar build up on the root is much harder to remove. This stage of gum disease is called periodontitis and can lead to tooth loss if left untreated. It is irreversible, but can be managed by your dentist with appropriate treatment.
You can expect your hygienist appointment to last around 30-40 minutes, depending on the condition of your teeth and gums. Your hygienist will professionally clean your teeth, check your teeth and gums for any issues and advise you on the best way to keep up with your oral hygiene routine at home.
No, the professional scale and polish is pain free. The hygienist will ensure you are relaxed and comfortable before beginning the treatment to minimise any discomfort and can use local anaesthetic if needed. You may experience some increased sensitivity after your appointment, but this will be temporary.
The aim of a hygiene appointment is not to whiten teeth, but you may find your teeth appear whiter after they have been professionally cleaned. To achieve a dazzling whiter smile, you can ask your dentist for advice on whitening treatments to change the shade of your natural teeth.
You should aim to visit the hygienist every six months so they can keep an eye on your teeth and gums. Some people may be advised to visit more or less frequently, depending on the condition of their teeth.
While you should still keep up with your regular dental check ups, if you feel you would like an additional hygienist appointment you do not have to wait for your dentist to refer you first. Simply get in touch to make an appointment.
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