Dental Hygiene

 

Why should I see a Hygienist?

Your hygienist is specially trained to prevent and treat gum disease and to help you maintain healthy bright teeth. They offer a professional hygiene treatment and provide advice on diet, preventing tooth decay and dental implant care. They can spot signs of dental disease and will always refer you to a dentist if they see anything that needs further treatment.

Regular visits to a hygienist combined with looking after your teeth and gums at home will greatly improve the appearance of your teeth and oral health.


Dental Hygienist & Therapist
CEB Dip Dent Hygiene 1998, FAETC (City & Guilds Further and Adult Education Teaching
Certificate, 1999), BSc (Hons) Oral Health Science 2018
GDC No. 3951

Basic Oral Health Treatment

  • Oral cancer screening and oral health assessment

  • Professional removal of deposits from your teeth and polishing

  • Oral hygiene advice

Comprehensive Oral Health Treatment

  • Oral cancer screening and oral health assessment

  • Detailed professional removal of deposits from your teeth and polishing

  • Oral hygiene advice

  • Diet advice

  • Air Polishing

Advanced Oral Health Treatment

  • Oral cancer screening and comprehensive oral health assessment

  • Detailed professional removal of deposits above and below the gums (using local anaesthesia if necessary)

  • Oral hygiene advice

  • Preventative and Diet advice

  • Stain removal (including tea, coffee, wine and nicotine stains)

  • Tongue hygiene for fresh breath

  • Air Polishing

Fluoride Treatment

  • Application of fluoride varnish to prevent tooth decay and/or sensitivity Fissure Sealants

  • Protective coating that is applied to the fissures or biting surface of susceptible permanent teeth at risk of tooth decay

Children’s Hygiene Treatments (under the age of 12)

  • Professional removal of deposits from your teeth and polishing

  • Oral hygiene advice

  • Diet Advice

Healthy Teeth and Gums

Air-Polish

Air Polish brightening is the ideal way to remove stains and discolouration which can be caused by drinking red wine, tea and coffee and also smoking. This innovative technique will thoroughly remove plaque and restore your smile’s natural brightness.

The Air Polish method uses a machine to clean and polish teeth with a combination of water, compressed air and fine powder particles. It is superior to traditional scale and polish treatments at removing the damaging biofilm that develops when dental plaque is colonised by bacteria whilst leaving the surface of your teeth intact. This is because the innovative spray technology can access all those hard to reach areas that traditional scaling cannot.

Implant Maintenance Implant retained crowns and bridges need cleaning in just the same way as conventional tooth-supported crowns and bridges. Although implants are immune to decay, plaque accumulation around the implant as it emerges through the surrounding gum will still cause inflammation, and might cause loss of bony support or ‘peri-implantitis’.

Implant crowns and bridges replace missing gum and bone tissue as well as teeth, and extend well under the gums making access even trickier. It can be impossible to clean effectively with an ordinary toothbrush alone. The use of accessory aids to cleaning such as small ‘interdental’ brushes and ‘superfloss’ on a daily basis is mandatory.

Seeing a hygienist on a regular and frequent basis, every 3 monthly, is essential for the longevity of your implants.

Periodontal (Gum Health) Maintenance Having healthy teeth also means having healthy gums. If there’s something troubling you with your gums, such as bleeding, swelling or general sensitivity, it might be a sign of gum disease. It’s essential that you get any problems with your gums seen to, as if left untreated it can result in the loss of your teeth. Other symptoms might include bad breath, or the feeling that your teeth have moved.

With our Bespoke Periodontal service, our Periodontists (Gum specialists) and advanced skilled hygienists will work with you to develop a personalised treatment plan, built around your individual requirements to get you back on track to good oral health.

It’s important for the ultimate success of any treatment we provide that the severity and extent of the disease is established and treated before it is too late to save any teeth. A customised programme to control and maintain your gum disease will be formulated by our specialists and hygienists.


This service also includes using Air polish in the ‘deep pockets’ as well as stain removal.

TOOTH-GUM BRUSH

Brush your teeth twice a day using fluoride tooth paste
Hold the brush at a 45-degree angle and move it in gentle circular motions for manual toothbrush. An electric toothbrush needs to be held at 45 degrees and glided across each tooth.

BRUSH BETWEEN THE TEETH

Use dental floss and/or interdental brushes on a twice-daily basis to remove food particles, bacteria and plaque.
Bacteria form within 24 hours on teeth and therefore disrupt their formation twice daily.

STOP SMOKING

Smoking has adverse effects on your general health as well as your gums.

Vaping is equally harmful to your gums if it contains nicotine.

DRINK WISELY

Drink water or milk when you are thirsty.

Drinks such as herbal teas, fizzy pops, sugar free squashes are acidic and can erode your teeth over time.


EAT SMART

Snacking between meals should be restricted to neutral dietary products like cheese or nuts. Avoid snacking on crisps, sweets, chocolates, candy or snacks rich in carbohydrates. Some fruits are highly acidic and should be avoided between meals.

Dental hygienists are an important part of the team and are mainly concerned with preventative dental health and treating gum disease – educating and motivating you to help keep your teeth and gums healthy.

Hygienists also give advice about diet and preventing tooth decay. The hygienist will work in collaboration with our specialists to give you care that is tailored to your needs.

Regular professional cleaning to remove plaque and tartar, combined with looking after your teeth and gums properly at home, will help keep your mouth healthy. A clean and healthy mouth will improve your appearance, help you to keep your teeth and give you fresh breath.

Direct Access

Now you can see the hygienist for a professional cleaning without seeing a dentist first. The hygienist will assess, give oral hygiene and diet advice and carry out treatment as necessary. However if they feel that there is a diagnosis or treatment that is outside their scope of practice they will refer (with your consent) to one of our dentists.

Our team of hygienists are happy to take referrals from general dental practitioners and/or are able to accept self referrals from patients directly.

Treatments Provided

  • Oral Hygiene Instruction

  • Dietary analysis and advice

  • Smoking cessation

  • Management of Periodontal disease

  • Maintenance of Periodontal Health

  • Maintenance of Implant Health

  • Children’s Dental Hygiene

  • Oral hygiene advice and maintenance for those undergoing orthodontic treatment

 

Smoking Cessation

Many studies have shown that smoking and using tobacco products has a detrimental effect on your teeth and gums. The root of the problem is the way in which tobacco affects the gum tissue cells, making smokers more prone to infections in the form of gum and periodontal diseases. Here are some oral health problems caused by smoking:

  1. Bad breath.

  2. Stained teeth.

  3. Jawbone loss, shrinking gums and tooth loss.

  4. Mouth sores, and poor healing of mouth sores.

  5. Decreased senses of taste and smell.

  6. Mouth cancer.

As dental professionals it is important for us to tell you the risks of smoking and to help you to quit by giving you information and support. By stopping smoking or using tobacco products your oral health will benefit very quickly and you will notice changes in your mouth almost immediately. It is essential that you come into the practice for regular check-ups so that we can help you maintain good oral health and give you advice and encouragement.

Treatments Provided

  • Improved oral health.

  • Decreased risk of tooth loss.

  • Decreased risk of mouth cancer.

  • Decreased risk of periodontal disease.

 

Diet Analysis and Advice

Everytime you eat or drink something containing sugar, your teeth soften for approximately 2 hours. The frequency and amount of sugary foods and acidic drinks should be reduced and restricted to mealtimes.

Top Tips

  • Don’t snack in between meals.

  • If you have to snack the best foods are savoury such as: raw carrots, cucumber, celery and peppers, chunk of cheese, plain cheese biscuit such as oat cakes, bread sticks, rice cakes, plain crisps, crumpets, pitta bread.

  • Drink plain tap water or tea/coffee without sugar in between meals.

  • Don’t eat sugary foods within an hour of bedtime.

  • Chewing sugar free gum after eating may help to increase the salivary flow which helps the teeth to repair themselves.

  • Check the packaging of foods and drinks you consume for sugar content (anything ending in –OSE e.g. sucrose/fructose) and hidden sugars. Tomato ketchup, mayonnaise, crisps and baked beans are glucose, sucrose, fructose etc.

  • Fizzy drinks, fruit squashes (including those that say ‘no added sugar’), fruit juice and smoothies will all cause decay and acid erosion.

  • Fresh fruit should be eaten at meal times ideally. Some fruits such as bananas cause a lot of decay and citrus fruits can cause decay and acid erosion of the teeth.

  • Avoid tablets high in sugars e.g. antacids, breath mints or cough lozenges. These can be particularly damaging

What we can offer

  • We recommend booking an appointment with our hygienist who can assess your diet and appropriate advice.

  • If required, special assessments like saliva tests and blood tests to detect systemic inflammation and its importance in maintaining general as well as periodontal (gum) health can also be discussed.

 

Stain Removal

Stained Teeth

Your teeth can become discoloured by stains on the surface or by changes inside the tooth. There are three main types of tooth discoloration:

  • Extrinsic – This occurs when the outer layer of the tooth (the enamel) is stained. Tea, Coffee, wine, other drinks or foods can Stained Teeth. Smoking also causes extrinsic stains. Corsodyl mouthwash used on a long term basis can cause staining as well.

  • Intrinsic – This is when the inner structure of the tooth (the dentine) darkens or gets a yellow tint. You can get this type of discoloration due to:

    • Exposure to excessive fluoride during early childhood.

    • Use of Tetracycline antibiotics during the second half of pregnancy.

    • Use of tetracycline antibiotics under 8 years old of age.

    • Trauma that affected a tooth when you were a young child. A fall, for example, may damage the developing permanent tooth or internal bleeding discolors teeth

    • Born with a rare condition called amelogenesis or dentinogenesis imperfecta. This causes gray, amber or purple discolorations.

  • Age-related – This is a combination of extrinsic and intrinsic factors. Dentin naturally yellows over time. The enamel that covers the teeth gets thinner with age, which allows the dentin to show through. Foods and smoking also can Stained Teeth as people get older. Finally, chips or other injuries can discolor a tooth, especially when the pulp has been damaged.

Symptoms

This can range from white streaks to yellow tints, brown spots and/or pitting of the smooth surface of the enamel. If the enamel has worn away, and dentin is showing through, you may notice a yellow tint.

Diagnosis

No special tests are needed. We recommend a consultation with one of our specialists or the hygienist to help you diagnose the cause of the staining.

Prevention

  • Brushing your teeth after every meal will help to prevent some stains.

  • We recommend that you rinse your mouth with water after having wine, coffee or other drinks or foods that can stained your teeth.

  • Regular cleanings by a dental hygienist also will help to remove surface stains.

  • Intrinsic stains that are caused by damage to a nerve or blood vessel in a tooth sometimes can be prevented. You may need to have root canal treatment to remove the inner part of the tooth (the pulp) before it has a chance to decay and darken. However, teeth that have root canal treatment may darken anyway.

  • To prevent intrinsic stains in children, avoid too much early exposure to fluorides (prevent your child from swallowing toothpaste in excess). Once the enamel is formed, fluoride will not discolor teeth.

Treatment

  • Many extrinsic stains caused by food and drink can be removed by regular professional cleanings and home care. Good home care includes brushing, flossing and rinsing after meals.

  • The use of Prophy-Jet Air Polishing system. Our hygienist offers this service to help you reduce the extrinsic stains.

  • Discoloration often can be removed by applying a bleaching agent to the tooth enamel.You will use a bleaching gel and a mouth guard given to you by your dentist. The bleaching gels designed for use at home aren’t as strong as those applied by your dentist. This means that the process takes longer — usually two to four weeks.

  • Whitening toothpastes usually don’t work – they have a very low concentration of the bleaching material and are not as effective as professionally applied bleaching gels

  • If your tooth has darkened after a root canal, bleaching the enamel won’t help. Our endodontist can apply a bleaching material to the inside of the tooth (internal tooth whitening treatment), or you may consider a crown or veneer.

Bleaching will not lighten some stains, such as tetracycline stains. In this case, our specialists may recommend covering the discoloured areas. This also may be useful when the tooth is chipped or badly damaged. A tooth can be covered with a color-matched composite bonding material. Another option is to get veneers. These are thin ceramic shells that cover the outer surfaces of the teeth.