An essential procedure in the battle for healthy gums.
Although the number of people visiting a dental hygienist is probably greater than it used to be; for many people, it may still be seen as an ‘optional extra’.
This is unfortunate as it is essential if you wish to have healthy gums that are free from gum disease. Home care alone, may not be sufficient to achieve this.
At the Confidental Clinic in Greenwich, we always encourage our patients to visit the hygienist on a regular basis. In addition to suggesting ways to improve how you look after your teeth, they will also ‘scale and polish’ them.
Scale and polish
Sometimes rather unfortunately referred to as a ‘scrape and polish’, this simple treatment is one of the most effective means of preventing gum disease from occurring. If not detected soon enough, gum disease can be very difficult to treat and may require a much more invasive deep clean which has to be performed by a specialist dentist using a local anaesthetic. Even then, success is not guaranteed, and tooth loss is still possible.
A scale and polish takes place in order to remove any hardened deposits of bacteria that may have built up on the teeth and gum line. Because most of us brush our teeth regularly, most bacterial deposits occur in the more difficult to reach areas, such as between the teeth or at the rear of our back teeth.
To remove the majority of this hardened deposit, known as tartar, a hooked instrument is used to access the spaces between the teeth. This is not painful but some patients find it a little uncomfortable. This is, presumably, the ‘scrape’ aspect of the procedure but really should cause no concern and there is certainly no need for a local anaesthetic. In reality, it is probably the expectation of discomfort rather than any actual discomfort that causes the concern. An ultrasonic scaler can also be used which shatters any remaining tartar without damaging the teeth.
Once this has been done, the hygienist then uses a high speed dental brush and paste to polish your teeth. Not only does this remove any remaining deposits but will also remove some surface staining from your teeth. Although this will not whiten your teeth to the extent that a teeth whitening procedure will, it can make a welcome improvement to the colour of your teeth. Indeed, whilst we generally recommend hygienist visits on a six month basis, some patients increase the number of visits simply because they like the feel and appearance of their teeth following treatment.
Most importantly, dental hygienist visits help you to maintain healthy teeth and gums, avoiding problems such as gingivitis and periodontitis. If you live in the Greenwich area of London and would like to find out how much cleaner and nicer your teeth both look and feel following a hygienist visit, why not arrange one and find out?
To arrange an appointment with Holly or Leanne, our dental hygienists, please call the Confidental Clinic on 020 8858 1422. We’ll be pleased to see you!