Dental Hygiene FAQ’s

Q. What happens in a typical hygiene appointment?

A. The appointment always begins with checking your medical history. It’s very important that you disclose this information to us in order for us to deliver the appropriate treatment to you. Rest assured everything you tell us is confidential. Then a facial and oral cancer screening is carried out. We check your jaw joint, your bite, any signs of wear, breakages, give dietary advice and of course carefully check your gums. We quantify and record all the above and then based on the findings devise an appropriate treatment plan with you. This time is interactive and takes the form of a discussion with you, its important that you understand everything we find in your mouth.

Q. Is there anything else I can expect to happen during my appointment?

A. It is important for the hygienist to get some background information about you and your cleaning regime in order to adapt your routine to improve your oral health. In depth measurements of your gums will be taken, using a state of the art probing system known as ‘Florida Probe’, to detect gum disease. Your teeth will also be applied with a dye to detect areas that bacteria are accumulating. Stain and debris on the teeth will also be removed, however some patients require further appointments dependant on the status of their oral health.

Q. Why do my gums bleed?

A. Bacteria accumulate around the neck of the teeth and cause infection, the body responds by sending more blood to the area to fight the infection so that when your toothbrush touches the gum they bleed. As the disease progresses and ‘goes deeper’ sometimes the bleeding isn’t so apparent but this can be the disease getting worse. Only a dental professional can assess this situation

Q. Why are my teeth sensitive when I brush them?

A. They may be sensitive for many reasons but most commonly because incorrect brushing technique has worn the gum away. Your hygienist can apply protection to these areas and show you how to prevent further wear

Q. My gums always bleed when I brush, Why all the fuss?

A. Gum and bone (periodontal) disease is a silent disease, commonly causing no discomfort until the latter stages when teeth are lost. Hence this bleeding is often mistaken as normal. Healthy gums DO NOT BLEED!

Q. How long is the appointment?

A. Start-Smiling initial hygiene appointments take up to an hour. These appointments are very thorough and time is taken to assess all aspects of oral health. Dependant on the condition of your oral health, more appointments may be required to achieve the optimal oral condition. Once oral health is established, this will need to be monitored and maintained as often as the Hygienist feels necessary; this is tailored advice and dependent upon you and your dental needs.

Q. Will it hurt?

A. Usually not, but where necessary our hygienists are able to give pain free local anaesthetic using gum numbing cream first.

Q. Why doesn’t the dentist clean my teeth?

A. We believe its best to stick to what you do best. Hygienists are highly qualified and focus on the gums and bone surrounding and supporting the teeth. Teeth can only be restored if they are well supported by healthy gum and bone. Once this health is established the dentists can then apply their skill to help you achieve the smile you’ve always wanted.

Q. Will scraping and polishing harm my teeth/restorations?

A. No. The noise of cleaning sometimes sounds a little ‘scratchy’ when it’s happening inside your head but each stroke of the instrument is carefully placed and angled in a skilled way.    Everything we do is aimed to help you keep your teeth healthier, and longer.

Q. Will it make my teeth whiter?

A. We remove all surface deposits and stains, so yes your teeth will be brighter and feel amazing. Sometimes stains soak into the teeth and cannot be polished off. Also teeth become dull over years of eating and drinking coloured foodstuffs so we are happy to discuss other ways of whitening your teeth.

Q. I’ve never been told to see a hygienist before until coming here, why do I need to now?

A. It may be that your previous dentist didn’t have a hygienist working with them, though more dentists do now realise the benefits to their patients.  Or it may be that the gum status in your mouth has changed, lots of factors can affect this, and gums should be continually reassessed.

Q. Do I have to see the dentist in order to benefit from the hygienist appointment?

A. No. Due to some new changes in the law, you can now have direct access to a hygienist. We still advocate that patients see a dentist as well but the above option can be very convenient for patients to visit our hygienist for cleaning and maintenance in between dentist visits, for example whilst undergoing orthodontic treatment.

Q. Can my children visit the dental hygienist?

A. Yes. We offer a service to children whereby advice is given to prevent tooth decay and future gum disease.

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