What does a Hygienist/Therapist do?
Hygienists are professionally trained to look after all aspects of your oral health. They are able to comprehensively check all areas of the mouth including teeth, gums, lips, cheeks etc for signs of disease.
If there is disease in your mouth they are able to work with your dentist to design the best plan for you to treat the disease. They are also able to shows you the most effective ways to keep your teeth and gums clean and healthy, to avoid needing treatment.
Therapists are trained in advanced techniques which means they are also able to carry out general dentistry such as fillings
Do I really need to see the Hygienist/Therapist?
Yes! There is evidence to suggest that disease in the mouth can have an adverse effect on your whole body, it has been linked with heart disease, strokes, lung problems and even some cancers. Pregnant mums are at risk of having babies with lower than average birth weights.
We can’t stress enough the importance of visiting the Hygienist/Therapist regularly to screen for any problems and get them treated as soon as possible. We recommend at least 3 monthly visits.
What happens during my visit?
This depends on what you need to have done. At our practice, during a routine visit for example, the Hygienist/Therapist will carry out an oral cancer screen externally around your head and neck, and also inside your soft tissues, your lips, cheeks etc.
They will record the health of your gums taking specific measurements to ensure they spot any disease early
They will check your plaque levels using a special dye to stain any plaque and record the percentage levels and work with you to reduce the score. They may even carry out a saliva screen to check the acid levels and buffering power in your mouth .
They will tell you if they find anything out of the ordinary and discuss treatment options with you. They will then clean your teeth and gums using specific precision instruments and show you any areas you are missing, and how to reach them in the future.
You will even be able to watch a DVD while the cleaning is being carried out to pass the time!
If any further treatment is needed the Hygienist/Therapist will explain what is involved and will work closely with your dentist to ensure you receive the best possible care.
Dr Uchenna Okoye gives her expert advice on how to keep your teeth in perfect condition.
“Everyone can have great teeth if you follow my five simple steps.
Number 1, get a plan and stick to it. Work with your dentist and hygienist to design a programme that’s right for you. I generally recommend 6 months check-up with the dentist, 3 months with the hygienist. That way, they’ll spot any problems early and fix it quickly.
Step number 2, quit smoking. This is so important and apart from all the other health concerns, smokers are 4 times more likely to get gum disease and this is because the tobacco basically kills the good cells in the mouth and you haven’t got a way to fight the infection.
Step number 3, floss, floss, floss. My patients call it the ‘f’ word. Nobody likes doing it, but it is so important. It’s the only way to get rid of the plaque in-between the teeth. If you don’t believe me, get a piece of floss, clean between your teeth and then sniff it. I don’t need to say any more, it’s completely gross.
Step number 4, cut down on your intake of fizzy drinks. Anything carbonated, even diet drinks, carbonated water, they all dissolve the enamel of your teeth, and if you must drink it, please, use a straw, because that way, you can protect your teeth better.
My last tip, so simple, but so effective. Brush twice a day using a fluoride toothpaste and a medium stiffness toothbrush. Or, better still, invest in an electric toothbrush. It can actually make brushing fun, I promise!”
“Wow – hygienists are normally very scary people! Jenny however was brilliant. Thanks for taking the time to explain everything and for making it virtually pain free” Steve
“I have had my teeth cleaned and it did not hurt at all. They showed me where to clean my teeth and got rid of all the bad stuff” Charlie Coleman, 12 years