At Downtown Dental Group we are very thorough and work hard to establish a relationship with each patient. Our dental hygienists aim to exceed your expectations by informing you as much as possible so you are aware of why certain procedures are needed.
Please ask us your questions, as we pride ourselves on following up on clients requests on products they are curious about or methods they would like more information about.
The top 4 hygienist tips for dental home care
- Brush teeth twice daily for 2 minutes at a time. Take care not to brush too hard, this can cause root exposure (recession) which can lead to tooth sensitivity and increased risk of cavities. Always use a soft or extra soft toothbrush. Change your toothbrush every 3-6 months.
- Floss daily
- Rinse with a mouth rinse like Listerine has proven to improve health of gums and decrease bad bacteria.
- Watch consumption of sugars, carbohydrates, fruit juices. These types of foods breakdown into acid and weaken the teeth. So exposing the mouth to this on a daily basis can increase your risk of cavities.
What’s new in dental hygiene?
Research has shown that manual removal using Scaling and Root planing with hand scalers or Ultrasonic inserts is the best way to remove plaque and calculus deposits from the teeth. We have had Ultrasonic scaling inserts for many years. They vibrate the tartar off rather than us removing it with the hand scalers. In the past the Ultrasonic scaling was only used in cases where the calculus (tartar) was very heavy. Now there are many different inserts that can be used in most situations.
What's important about dental hygiene appointments?
Dental Hygiene not only removes the plaque and calculus from your teeth, it can affect your overall health. Dental hygiene is part of a maintenance program for your mouth and relates to the rest of your body. A person cannot be plaque free unless they are brushing and flossing 24 hours a day. This is not realistic. The plaque starts to build up minutes after you brush your teeth.
The longer the plaque sits on your teeth the greater the chance it can change into a more negative bacteria that can then cause harm to the gums and teeth. If we disturb the plaque twice a day the plaque has to start all over again. We will miss some plaque and the calcium in our saliva will harden it and turn it to calculus. Calculus cannot be removed by your tooth brush. A dental hygienist removes the calculus so a person just has to focus on the daily act of disturbing the plaque.
Everyone is different and builds up plaque and calculus differently. As well, the condition of your teeth can affect accumulation of plaque and calculus -for example, crowded teeth, fillings, missing teeth.
Most people come in for dental hygiene appointments every 6 months. Depending on the person and their mouth they may benefit in coming in every 3-4 months, 9 months or yearly. Everyone is different and their needs are different depending on a number of factors. Our dental hygienists at Downtown Nanaimo Dental Group will be happy to advise you how often you should have a dental cleaning based on your individual situation.
How to prepare for a dental hygiene appointment?
To prepare, expect to be there for approximately 1 hour. If you have had soreness in the past from hygiene appointments taking an ibuprophen in advance can help with this. Dental freezing is also an option we can discuss for more serious discomfort issues.
Clients should know or have a list of current medications and be ready to tell us about any new health issues or conditions since the last appointment.
What to expect at the appointment?
Your hygienist will be cleaning your teeth. This is done both above the gum line (scaling) and below the gum-line (root planing) using a traditional hand scaler combined with modern ultrasonic scaling inserts that use vibrations to remove deposits. Calculus or hardened plaque build up cannot be removed by brushing and flossing at home.
In addition to this cleaning your dental hygienist is busy heading off more serious dental problems through:
- a periodontal assessment: including probing the depths around the tooth for signs of loss in the bone supporting the teeth in the mouth;
- checking for gum recession, which measures how much attached gum is present and exposed root surface;
- checking mobility of the teeth;
- checking for presence of gingivitis;
- polishing: to remove any surface stain, delay the plaque from forming as quickly and as a bonus some polishing pastes have ingredients that help the tooth take in fluoride better and therefore strengthen the teeth;
- fluoride treatment (optional) helps prevent further cavities from forming and harden areas that are weaker;
- an extra-oral exam is done at least once a year to check the head, neck and jaw areas for confirmation of health;
- An intra-oral exam to check the gum tissues, tongue and lips for confirmation of health;
- x-rays are done if due for them -these are important for preventative measures
You’ll also have an exam done by your dentist as well as get a chance to ask any questions you might have.
As you can see there is a lot to accomplish in each appointment. If a patient does not come in at the recommended intervals or is late for their appointment, it makes routine maintenance more difficult.
Dental Hygiene FAQs
Periodontal disease has a direct relationship to your risk for Diabetes and Heart Disease. Your risk for these health conditions are dependant on how much inflammation you have in your body. If you already have a certain amount of inflammation in your body and also inflammation in the mouth, this can push you past the safe level and put you at risk for these conditions. If you have uncontrolled Diabetes they most likely will have periodontal disease. If we can get the periodontal disease under control usually the Diabetes becomes easier to control as well.
Some people refrain from telling us about a current health condition because they don't feel it has anything to do with the mouth. There are many health issues that have affects on the oral cavity. Also medications have a big affect on the oral cavity. If we aren't informed we cannot thoroughly treat a client.
A person’s dental health is determined by many factors, such as; genetics, environment and socioeconomic. Some of these factors we cannot control. We can control how often we come into the dentist and we can control how often we brush our teeth and floss. If you do what you are capable of doing then at least you know you’re doing your part.
If you have not been in for many years or past the recommended time interval it may take a number of appointments before you are at a maintenance phase. These initial appointments can cause you more discomfort, but once you come in on a routine basis appointments flow smoothly. Don’t forget we’ve here to help you achieve you and your family’s dental health goals with the most comfort possible and wherever you are now, it’s a good time to begin on the path to excellent dental health.
Please book an appointment today to get started.
Downtown Nanaimo Dental Group is proud to serve your complete dental health needs in Nanaimo. Our Nanaimo dentists and dental hygienists believe in continuous learning to bring you the latest technology in dental medicine and our team of dental professionals aspire to the highest level of patient care. At each visit to our office we treat you with the respect, honesty and dignity that you deserve.