1- What might my cleaning appointment include?
Removal of calculus (tartar): calculus is hardened plaque that accumulates on the tooth surface both above and below the gum line. Tartar can only be removed by special dental instruments.
Removal of plaque: plaque is a sticky colourless film consisting of living bacteria, food debris and saliva. Action of plaque can cause gum inflammation (gingivitis) and, in certain instances, the loss of the bone needed for the support of the tooth (periodontitis).
Teeth polishing: gentle tooth polishing removes stains and plaque and can help you enjoy that ‘just left the dentist feeling’.
Airflow Polishing System: this is a gentle and modern system which helps us to remove tough to get to stains. It is particularly useful for individuals who are smokers, eat and drink foods with colourants like tea, coffee and curries or have particularly crowded teeth making home tooth cleaning more difficult.
Oral hygiene instructions: these are steps and techniques which we will help you to develop and master. These home techniques will help you reduce the future risks of decay and gum disease and maintain a fresh clean mouth
Smoking cessation advice: We are very proud to have been able to help many of our patients to reduce or stop smoking. We are here to help and assist when our patients feel the time is appropriate.
2- How much time should I book for?
45 minute appointments: Are appropriate for individuals whose oral hygiene is good to moderate and who don’t need much instructions in oral hygiene techniques such as tooth brushing or inter-dental cleaning.
60 minute appointments: Are more suitable in the following circumstances:
– Intensive oral hygiene instructions- tooth and or dietary advice.
– Presence of tenacious deposits of calculus particularly below the gum level.
– General or hard to get to staining. Mostly seen in smokers or heavy users of foods with colourants such as tea/coffee.
– Patients with a history of or active periodontal disease, severe Gingivitis or high rates of dental decay.
– Patients needing additional pain control through the administration of Local Anaesthesia.
– patients who are at the start of complex dental treatments such as fixed orthodontic treatment or a full mouth reconstructions.
– Direct Access Hygiene patients.
– Hygiene with airflow.
3- How regularly should I see the hygienist?
The interval for cleaning can vary between individuals and can be from 1,3,4,6, 9 and 12 months. These intervals are monitored and are reassessed regularly and are changed depending on the risk factors.
Individuals with good to moderate oral hygiene fall in the 6 to 12 monthly interval category. Your dentist and hygienist, in consultation with you, will help to draw up the appropriate time intervals.
Risk factors considered:
Speed at which plaque, staining, dental decay or gum (periodontal) disease can develop.
Existing or potential damage to the foundation bone around the teeth as a consequence of active or historic periodontal disease (gum disease).
Presence of medical conditions which can increase the risks of periodontal disease or dental decay such as diabetes or Sjogrens syndrome.
Presence of habits such as smoking.
Risk factors associated with the current condition of the teeth. Such as the number, position or extent of the existing restorations.
4- What is Direct Access?
Since 1 May 2013, Direct Access allows patients the option of seeing a registered hygienist or dental therapists without having to be seen by a dentist or needing a prescription from a dentist.
However only dentists can still carry out the full range of dental treatments, prescribe local anaesthesia and write prescription for medicines. Routine dental examinations with your dentist are the cornerstone of preventative dentistry.
Direct access hygiene visit are 45 minutes or 60 minutes in duration. This is to allow enough time for your hygienist to carry out the professionally required checks such as those for medical, dental and social history.
Patients should be aware that visiting the hygienist is not the same as having a dental exam with a dentist.
5- What are the benefits of dental hygiene visits?
During your regular dental visits, you will be advised to undertake dental cleaning. Poor oral hygiene can be a contributing factor to a multitude of both dental and medical problems. Attending your dentist regularly and undergoing professional cleaning is an essential component to good oral health.
You may be surprised to learn that some of the benefits of clean teeth extend far beyond your mouth too. Here are 5 of the benefits to your oral and physical health that regular professional cleaning will provide:
Prevent tooth loss
Gum disease begins with a build-up of plaque and can end in tooth loss. Plaque is a build-up of bacteria which happens to everyone but it does need to be cleaned off from around your gum-line regularly to keep your gums in top condition. Your hygienist will help remove the plaque to reduce the risk of losing your teeth or developing periodontal disease.
Alongside gum disease, plaque and cavities come hand in hand. Left to its own devices, plaque will attach to the enamel on your teeth and release acids which cause erosion and cavities. A good professional clean will help to rid your teeth from plaque.
Dental cleaning will help to reduce or even remove staining on your teeth. Coffee, wine and tobacco are some of the most common causes of discolouration. A good clean will leave your teeth looking brighter and sometimes even whiter.
Improve your health
A healthy mouth reduces your risk of heart disease and stroke. The bacteria which is present in plaque can enter the bloodstream which increases the likelihood of these serious health conditions. Poor oral hygiene has also been linked to diabetes, infertility, heart disease, erectile dysfunction and even cancer.
Prevent bad breath
More often than not, when bad breath or halitosis is present it is due to an underlying dental problem. Regular, professional oral hygiene is crucial to preventing bad breath.