What do dental hygienists and therapists do?

11th May 2014

Dental hygienists

Dental hygienists (sometimes known as oral health practitioners) play an important part in dental health care. They specialise in the prevention and treatment of periodontal (gum) disease, working alongside your dentist to provide a treatment plan that is tailored to your needs.

he hygienist’s main role is to clean the teeth, known as ‘scaling and polishing’. This is the removal of soft and hard plaque deposits, followed by a polish to remove any stains and leave the teeth feeling lovely and smooth. However, perhaps their most important role is to promote and maintain good oral health, showing you correct home care and the most effective ways to keep the teeth free of plaque – a sticky film of bacteria that constantly forms on teeth. There are so many oral care products in the market these days including special toothpastes, mouthwashes and powered toothbrushes. Your London hygienist will recommend what’s best for you – and if you don’t have one, our dental hygiene appointments are available early morning and late in the day.

During your appointment, the hygienist will check for the presence of disease or any abnormalities in and around the mouth. Dental hygienists play a crucial role in the early detection and prevention of oral cancers especially because they tend to see patients on a regular basis when they are well, as opposed to just when they are sick. As a result, suspicious lesions in the mouth can be detected before the patient develops any symptoms. Early detection is the key factor to improving the outcome of any type of cancer.

Your hygienist will tell you about the relationship between diet and oral health, giving you advice on how to reduce things like dry mouth, acid erosion, sensitivity, staining and cavities. Patients who are prone to tooth decay may benefit from having fluoride or other cavity-deterring sealants applied to the teeth to prevent the development or progression of decay. Antibacterial gels can be applied under the gum to kill bacteria that cause gum disease. X-rays may be taken to monitor any problem areas or to check for hard plaque deposits beneath the gum that cannot be seen directly.

Smokers are more likely to have gum disease and lose more teeth than non-smokers. Nicotine also causes the teeth to stain yellow. If you want to stop smoking, your hygienist can guide you through the journey and provide advice on various ways to do this. Different methods of teeth-whitening can also be explained and carried out by the hygienist.

Regular hygiene visits, combined with a good regime at home, will prevent tooth loss and help keep your mouth feeling healthy. A healthy mouth will improve your overall confidence, appearance and save you money!

Dental therapists

Dental therapists provide all the same treatment that a dental hygienist provides, but have undergone extra training in order to be able to carry out a wider range of procedures.  These include:

  • Administering local anaesthesia
  • Routine fillings
  • Extraction of baby teeth
  • Taking impressions
  • Treating patients under conscious sedation
  • Emergency temporary replacement of a crown that has fallen out
  • Placement of crowns on baby teeth
  • Pulp therapy treatment on baby teeth

At Bow Lane Dental we have both dental therapists and dental hygienists to help you keep your teeth for life!

You can now call 020 7236 3600 to book an appointment directly with a hygienist/therapist without having to see a dentist!

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