This is a sticky film of bacteria which grows on all surfaces of the tooth. After brushing and flossing, the film of bacteria rapidly re-forms. Plaque can cause gum disease (gingivitis and ultimately periodontitis) and tooth decay if it is not regularly removed by effective home care.
Why have hygienist treatment?
Modern dentistry is prevention orientated. The hygienists work closely with the dentists to help our patients achieve good oral health. Their role is to provide education, skills and motivation to help you avoid gum and tooth problems. They are trained to recognise and treat gum problems such as gingivitis and periodontitis
This is inflammation of the gum tissues caused by plaque. Correct home care can reverse gingivitis. If ignored, gingivitis will sometimes progress into periodontitis
This occurs when the inflammation spreads to the supporting structures of a tooth, including the bone. It is also caused by plaque. Some people are more susceptible to developing periodontitis, especially those who smoke. Because over time irreversible damage has been done to the supporting tissues and bone this condition cannot be ‘cured’ as such but can be ‘managed’. The hygienist works with the patient to ensure correct care is given at home and provides professional treatment that aims to stop or control any further damage being caused by the disease.
Tartar (also known as calculus)
This is calcified/hardened plaque which forms when plaque is not effectively removed by the patient at home. Unlike plaque, once formed you cannot remove tartar/calculus with a toothbrush, the hygienist will need to do this with special instruments.
Private Hygiene Treatment
Our hygienists offer private appointments of different lengths, depending on your clinical need for treatment.
H45: A 45 minute appointment for all new patients and those undergoing treatment of periodontitis. Often patients will require several such appointments to restore their mouth to health and control the progression of the disease. The treatment of periodontitis is often long term and usually involves an initial course of treatment followed by regular ongoing review and maintenance appointments.
H30: A 30 minute appointment for patients who would like to maintain a fresh and healthy smile.
H15/H20: Shorter appointments are recommended for children and teens.
NB: Please note that appointment lengths include writing of treatment notes (in your patient record) and surgery clear-down.
What you can expect from your first hygiene appointment
The hygienist will ask you questions about your oral health and hygiene and record the information in your notes. They will carry out a detailed examination of your gums and teeth. We need to know as much as possible about you and your mouth so that your treatment can be tailored to your needs.
We will go through the following during your initial appointment:
Check your medical history (please tell us about any new medical problems and medication)
Note any factors which might complicate home care
Discuss any concerns you have about your mouth
- Identify risk factors for serious gum problems
- Ask about dietary habits and discuss any areas of risk to your teeth
- Ask about your current home care routine
- Assess your level of oral hygiene and advise you of where improvements can be made
- Explain the causes of gum diseases and the importance of good home care
- Carry out a detailed check of all the tissues around the teeth, checking for bleeding, calculus, overhanging restorations and pocketing (where the gum has detached from the tooth/root)
- Begin the cleaning process if appropriate
- Draw up a provisional treatment plan and give you an estimate of the costs involved