The hygienist plays a key role alongside the dentist in helping to keep your gums healthy for life. They will assess the health of your gums, find out your cleaning routine at home, professionally clean your teeth, polish your teeth and give you oral hygiene advice tailored to you. In giving you custom advice and tips you can ensure that your gums can be as healthy as possible in a way that works for you.
The hygienist will remove calculus (also known as tartar) from your teeth that cannot be brushed away at home. Calculus deposits can build up on your teeth rather like lime scale on a tap. Calculus starts to form when plaque (the white sticky film of bacteria that builds up on our teeth every day) is exposed to the minerals and calcium salts in our saliva and hardens. Calculus has a rough surface which is an ideal for more plaque to form and adhere to. Plaque produces toxins that are an irritant to the gums and causes them to be inflamed, red and swollen. It also produces acids that damage teeth and cause tooth decay. So, it is important to maintain good plaque control at home and have calculus removed regularly by the hygienist.
As well as cleaning your teeth, the hygienist will ask you about your day to day cleaning routine. You can discuss any areas you find more difficult to clean or cleaning aids that you are unsure how to use. The hygienist can show you the correct techniques and find out what suits you best.
A hygiene visit should be pain free. Sometimes if gums are inflamed and there is a lot of calculus build up they may be tender, so expect a little sensitivity if you haven’t seen a hygienist for a while. This will be minimised with regular visits. Sometimes people have generally sensitive teeth for many different reasons so if you do then let the hygienist know and they can adapt around you using different techniques and local anaesthetic if necessary.