Hygiene & Prevention

Promoting great oral health in Christchurch

Most patients will be referred to the dental Hygienist as part of their examination appointment. Dental hygienists are specially trained to work with the dentist in giving care to patients. They play an important role in dental health care and are mainly concerned with gum health, showing people correct home care and applying preventive materials to the teeth and gums.

  • What is the hygienist’s role in the practice?Open or Close
    Hygienist

    The hygienist’s main role is to professionally clean the teeth for the patient. This is usually called scaling and polishing. However, perhaps their most important role is showing the patient the best way to keep the teeth free of plaque. They also give advice on diet and preventing dental decay. The hygienist will work with your dentist to provide care tailored to your needs.

    Scaling and polishing is usually pain-free. However, if you do have any discomfort the hygienist can use anaesthetic gels, or give you some local anaesthetic. It is important that you let the hygienist know at the time so they can help with your pain.

  • Gum disease (Gingivitis) Open or Close
    Gum Health

    A healthy set of gums should be pink and firm, and will keep your teeth securely anchored into place. Your gums should not bleed when your touch or brush them. If you develop gingivitis, it is your gums that will be affected. The main symptoms of gingivitis include:

    tender, painful gums,

    swelling and redness in the gums, and

    bleeding gums, after you brush your teeth.

    For most patients routine hygienist appointments are sufficient at treating any gum problems and will require one appointment around the same time as their examination appointment. For patients that haven’t been to the hygienist in a while it may be necessary to have a slightly longer appointment or even two or more appointments.

    Gum Health

    Long-standing gingivitis can turn into periodontal disease. There are a number of types of disease and they all affect the tissues supporting the teeth. As the disease gets worse the bone anchoring the teeth in the jaw is lost, making the teeth loose. If this is not treated, the teeth may eventually fall out. For patients with active gum disease it may be necessary to have appointments every 3 months for a prolonged period of time.

  • What treatments are needed?Open or Close

    Our team of hygienists will clean your teeth thoroughly to remove the scale. She may also use a periodontal probe to take depth measurements of the pockets between the teeth and the gum. You may also have x-rays taken to show the pocket depths or bone loss.

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Dental Hygiene