At a dental hygiene treatment appointment your hygienist or dentist will remove all the plaque (mass of bacteria), tartar (hardened plaque) and stain that builds up on your teeth over time. This will leave your teeth feeling smooth and looking bright. It also has the added benefit of treating bad breath, leaving your mouth fresh and clean.
The dental hygiene cleaning is often performed with precision hand instruments and an ultrasonic instrument that vibrates under a cooling water spray. These instruments are used to scrape and vibrate the plaque and tartar off your teeth. Often a prophy handpiece is used to complete the hygiene clean by polishing your teeth leaving them smooth.
The plaque and tartar are very similar in colour to your teeth and build up slowly. Often you don’t realise you have this build up of bacteria on your teeth. This bacteria leads to bleeding and tender gums, bad breath and periodontal disease.
An appointment with your dental hygienist or dentist should be part of your preventative dental care. It is important to remove plaque and tartar before it causes tooth decay and gum disease. Scheduling regular dental hygiene cleans with your dental professional can prevent expensive reactionary dental treatment and save you a lot of money in the long run.
The frequency of your visits will depend on your risk factors for decay and gum disease and how well you clean your teeth at home. It can be as often as every 3 months or as infrequent as once a year. Your dental professional will discuss and personalise your recall appointments for you.
Generally a dental hygiene treatment is not painful, most patients feel only vibrations from the ultrasonic instrument and some pressure during hand instrument use. On occassion there may be a slight tender spot as the instrument runs across the gum, but this lasts for a millisecond. A clean that is painful can be caused by a number of things: a rough dentist or hygienist, exposed dentine (can make cleanings sensitive), or sore gum tissues. If you find the treatment a bit uncomfortable because the gum tissues (rather than the teeth themselves) are sensitive, topical numbing gels can be used. If your teeth are very sensitive then local anaesthetic can be used.
To find a dentist or dental hygienist who can perform a dental hygiene clean visit www.fillinggaps.co.nz