We all know that preventing dental problems in the first place would save you from having to undergo certain dental procedures in the future. It is not possible to prevent every dental problem, however, a significant number are certainly preventable. In this blog we discuss the role of the dental hygienist and how the hygiene therapy can prevent many future dental problems.
Healthy gums and cleaner teeth
Over a 6 month period, most people will accumulate staining and plaque build up on their teeth. The plaque build up is termed ‘calculus’ and normally collects around the gum margins of teeth. The most frequent sites of calculus accumulation tends to be behind the lower incisors, just in front of the tongue.
Dental calculus is a mineralised deposit, which has bacteria embedded within. Due to the mineralised nature of this deposit, it is virtually impossible to remove using normal tooth brushing or flossing. Since the calculus deposit is in very close proximity to the gums, it can cause the gums to become chronically inflamed. This results in bleeding gums, also known as gingivitis. Over time, if the gingivitis is not treated and the calculus is not removed, it may result in gum recession and irreversible bone loss known as periodontitis. This is a more serious dental problem which is the leading cause of loose teeth and tooth loss.
All can be prevented
By removing the calculus and bacteria before the development of gingivitis and periodontitis, this dental disease can be avoided. Many microbiological studies have shown that irreversible bone loss (periodontitis) in most patients will only start to occur if calculus is left in the mouth for more than 3-4 months. For this reason, undergoing hygiene therapy regularly is crucial when considering the prevention of one of the most prevalent and damaging dental diseases.
Some patients are more susceptible to calculus accumulation than others and this risk assessment is made during your dental examination. For this reason, we would recommend a hygiene therapy programme which is performed either every 3, 6 or 12 months depending on the patient’s specific risk factor. The aim of this programme is to ensure the removal of the harmful bacteria responsible for periodontitis and gingivitis.
The pictures below show treatment carried out by our experienced dental hygienist, Selina Alam, to remove extensive calculus deposits especially on the lower incisor teeth.
Selina has carried out thorough hygiene therapy to remove the deep layers of calculus and bacteria that had developed on these teeth.
Crowded teeth are more susceptible to calculus build up
The patient in the pictures above was very susceptible to plaque build up due to the crowding of her teeth. Selina has provided a tailor made hygiene programme to remove the calculus every 3 months to ensure no long term damage occurs to the gums. In the meantime, we are treating the patient using our invisalign procedure to straighten her teeth, making her less susceptible to calculus development and also improve her smile appearance.
The proof is in the …
Over the last 15 months, the expert hygiene therapy performed by Selina on our patients has significantly reduced the incidence of active gingivitis and periodontitis. In the long term, we expect this to reduce the number of patients suffering from tooth loss and more serious dental complications. Hygiene therapy is not a quick fix, instead it is treatment for the long term success of your natural teeth. We are very proud to be helping many more patients retain their own teeth for longer and improve the appearance of their teeth as well!
Thank you for reading