- “The hygienist makes my gums bleed; he/she makes it worse!”
There are many people that avoid visiting their hygienist because they believe the hygienist has made their gums bleed at previous appointments. This is a common myth, because healthy gums do not bleed! The bleeding is actually caused by your own body’s inflammatory response to bacterial plaque. If the plaque is not being removed effectively from your teeth and gums by tooth brushing and flossing, it will irritate the tissues and cause bleeding, swelling, pain and tenderness. Therefore, when your hygienist starts removing the plaque and calculus (tartar) in your mouth, bleeding will occur because your gums are already inflamed and they may well be sore or tender after your appointment.
- Why can’t the dentist clean my teeth for me at my check-up appointment?
Your hygienist has a much longer appointment time to solely concentrate on the oral health of the teeth and gums. A dentist will assess and diagnose the state of your dental health and advise if any restorations need carrying out, but a hygienist will take a much more detailed look at the hygiene levels and be able to give you personalised advice on how best to clean around any crowns, bridges, implants etc and which products may be of use to you. E.g. using a sensitive toothpaste.
- “…But hygienist procedures are so painful!” or “I’m in so much pain afterwards.
Many people think that it is the hygienist that causes the pain many people experience and then they avoid booking further hygienist appointments. The reason that you may be experiencing pain or tenderness at your visit to the hygienist is usually that your gums are inflamed from improper tooth brushing and flossing. We do not wish our patients to be uncomfortable at an appointment. We, therefore, give a good amount of time to each patient, so they do not feel rushed in any way and this way, patients have much more control over the appointment. Hygienists are also able to offer treatment with a topical and/or local anaesthetic to make procedures more comfortable for the patient.
- Every time I visit my hygienist, they always tell me to improve my brushing at home. But isn’t that their job to clean my teeth for me?
No! A hygienist-patient relationship must work both ways. Part of your hygienist’s job is to support you and improve your own toothbrushing and interdental cleaning. The procedures a hygienist will carry out are there to provide you with a ‘clean slate.’ It is then vital that a patient maintains their own plaque control at home with daily cleaning. If this is not maintained, plaque will start to build up again shortly after your hygienist appointment, it will then turn into Calculus (Tartar) if not removed. Calculus is defined as solidified plaque and cannot be removed by simply brushing it away with your normal toothbrush. This is where your hygienist comes in as it requires physical intervention with specialist tools to be removed. In addition to this Plaque that is allowed to proliferate in the mouth can potentially cause Periodontitis (Gum Disease) and Tooth decay.
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