Is it really JUST a clean?? Or something much more…

At some point in our lives we would have seen a dentist, whether for a check-up, broken tooth or worse… Then there is a good chance they have recommended you to come back and see one of their colleagues for a hygiene visit.  Have you ever wondered why this is needed and the dentist cannot do it for you then and there?  Then this is the blog for you!

A hygiene visit would entail you seeing a dental hygienist or oral heath therapist; which are highly trained professionals that work closely with the dentist to give you a holistic view to your oral health.  They have specific training to get the best treatment outcomes for you and most importantly the extra time to do this in. This could be for a regular preventive appointment or for the treatment of gum disease. The aim of these appointments is to avoid pain, tooth-loss, reduce the need for fillings or a larger filling and ultimately save you money. Sounds too good to be true, but it isn’t.  Dental decay and gum disease are one of Australia’s highest prevalence diseases that are completely PREVENTABLE! Below are some of the items that are used to diagnose and treat these issues.

Periodontal charting is a measurement of how much gum and bone is supporting and holding your teeth in your jaw.  A little measuring stick or ruler is used to provide a snapshot of data so we can diagnose gum disease and monitor its progression.  This is either updated every 12 months or when required but will be reviewed every appointment. If this is not done gum disease can progress undetected as there is usually no pain associated with gum disease until it’s too late.

Gum disease is a blanket word used to describe two kinds of problems, gingivitis & periodontitis (periodontal disease). Gingivitis affects the gum and periodontitis affects the jaw bone which can result is tooth-loss.  The main symptom of these issues are bleeding gums when your brush or floss and is usually painless. Healthy gums do not bleed, so if you have bleeding gums chances are you are due and in need of a thorough clean by the hygienist or oral health therapist. They will effectively remove all plaque, bacteria, staining and calcium (or calculus build-up) to reduce inflammation from every tooth above and below the gumline. If the bacteria are not disturbed the risk of gum disease progression is very real.

Reviewing an individual’s oral hygiene and diet is one of main ways cavities & gum disease can be prevented.   This can carry out every hygiene appointment to ensure you are made aware of any risks that you may be increasing without even knowing.

X-rays are taken depending on a patient’s risk factors (diet, oral hygiene habits, saliva, past dental history, how often they come to the dentist) which can vary from 12 monthly to 2 or more years. These are what are needed to complete a thorough dental examination by the dentist.  The hygienist or oral health therapist can do this before the dentist comes in.

At the end of your hygiene appointment a fluoride treatment may be suggested. This can come in varies forms depending on what it is required for, which is usually to strengthen the teeth or root surfaces and prevent cavies.

On-going preventive hygiene visits can occur every 3, 4 or 6 monthly depending on the risk status that has been determined by your dental practitioner. These appointments will encompass all of the above preventive items, with the end goal of helping you keep your natural teeth as long as possible and pain free!

If you have any further questions or wish to book an appointment to keep your teeth for life call Morphett Vale Dental Care on 8382 2410 today!