The Dental Hygienist

The importance of good oral hygiene

The hygienist’s role is to professionally clean your teeth, but more importantly to show you the best way to keep your teeth and keep these pockets free from plaque on a daily basis. She will explain the disease process and show you the areas in your mouth which are particularly susceptible.

Hygienist appointment

Two types of instruments are used: the hand scalers (each one for a different area of the mouth) and the Ultrasonic Scaler which uses a tip that vibrates very fast in a stream of water. The water is removed from the mouth with a suction device. The hygienist may irrigate or flush the pockets using an antiseptic solution, floss between the teeth and polish away stubborn stains with a polishing strip. A hand instrument may be used to check the teeth are completely clean. Polishing can be done with a rotating brush or rubber cup with professional toothpaste.

Usual appointments with the hygienist are usually 20-30 minutes. Where anaesthetic and deeper cleaning is required the hygienist is likely to use an extended appointment, up to one hour. Regular removal of the plaque and tartar (calculus) is essential so your daily brushing and flossing is most effective.

Strict cross infection protocols are observed throughout our hygiene appointments, using sterilised instruments and disposables where appropriate, protective covers and shields, and new gloves and facemasks. All work areas, protective glasses and lights are cleaned and sprayed with antiviral agent. This time is built in to your appointment in order that the highest safety standards are maintained. You may find your hygienist wears magnification loupes in order she can provide you with the highest standards of treatment.

Your Role

We know the bacteria found in plaque causes gum disease. We see that good plaque control results in improved gum scores whereas poor control results in continued attachment loss.

It is certain your effectiveness at removing the plaque on a daily basis will have the biggest effect on controlling the disease. Success depends upon giving yourself time in your daily schedule and having efficient aids which you know exactly how to use.

Examples of hygiene aids:

dental tape tucked right underneath the gums, correctly sized inter-dental brushes, inter-dental mechanical aids, effective tooth brushing with manual, electric or sonic brushes.

Mouthrinses with antiseptics (eg. Chlorhexidine) should be used over the short term and repeated if necessary, and daily mouthwashes used between.

Disclosing tablets are an excellent tool to help you identify and remove plaque. By giving the plaque a contrasting colour to your teeth you can see where it needs to be removed.

Helping us identify your risk factors eg. Smoking, stress, illnesses, family history of gum problems will help us treat you more effectively.


Regular care after gum treatment is paramount, and the scientifically proven interval is every three/four months. Your dentist and hygienist will recommend when you return, to maintain healthy gums.

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Site last updated on - May 2018
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