Unsung hero of the dental team – our hygienist

It’s easy to overlook the dental hygienist; the technical specialist with the tough task of removing plaque. But at our dentist in Culcheth, we understand that the work of a dental hygienist may have saved more teeth than all of the rest of our dental team put together!

dentist-in-culchethHaving a modern dentist in Culcheth is all about dividing up the different needs of our patients between a set of professionals, each one specialising in providing that care. Once a patient has been triaged by a general dental team, they are sent to the orthodontist for realignment and endodontists for severe or complicated root canal procedure, but there is one procedure that almost all patients will experience several times; a scale and polish.

When it comes to the build-up of plaque and the formation of tartar this is such a common occurrence it’s barely worth mentioning as a condition at all. Yet the cost of failing to address this calcified plaque and providing an education to ensure better oral hygiene in the future is huge for prevention. Surely any prevention at all is better than cure? And no one else on our dental staff is more efficient at preventing the need for future treatment, whether that be fillings, crownings or the total replacement of teeth with dentures, than our hygienist. By charting changes to patients’ teeth whilst measuring pocket depth and removing tartar when detected, a hygienist can prevent all kinds of secondary issues, just by removing plaque..

What is a dental hygienist?

A dental hygienist is a technician, who is professionally skilled and capable of providing dental care, but only in a very narrow aspect of dentistry, like a specialist nurse compared to a GP in a medical team.

With younger patients the focus of their role is education, displaying brushing and flossing techniques

Most sessions with our hygienist will start with a brief assessment, during which they will check your previous medical notes. They may add to them based on any observed build-up of plaque or tartar; anything particularly suspicious will be flagged up with our dental team to be explored further. If they deem it necessary, they’ll suggest a scale and polish which is the most effective method of removing tartar. Tartar is highly calcified plaque that you will not be able to remove by brushing at home and there are very few ways of dealing with it in your normal bathroom. In approximately 15 minutes, with a combination of abrasive gels spinning heads and the occasional use of the dental drill, our hygienist will have your teeth back to a smooth pearly white finish.

Although aesthetically very pleasing, the purpose of this finish is to provide a surface far too smooth for bacteria to stick to, helping to prevent cavities from forming and future build-up of plaque. This prevents the need for later intervention like fillings and even crowns when teeth become structurally compromised. But there’s no reason why you can’t enjoy it too!

We are currently accepting new patients at our dentist in Culcheth. If you’re interested in becoming one or would like to find out more in general about dentistry and the role of our hygienist please feel free to get in contact. You can do this via the phone number on the website or by email.