‘What is a dental hygienist,’ you may ask, ‘and how are they different to a standard dentist?’ Well, my imagined reader, a dental hygienist is someone who focuses on preventative oral healthcare. That is, they try and stop problems before they even have the chance to occur. The difference between the hygienist and the dentist being that their entire focus is on prevention. ‘Surely I can do all this myself, brushing twice for two minutes a day?’ you may say. My response would be, ‘but are you doing it correctly?’
A hygienist’s main job is professionally cleaning a patient’s teeth, which is sometimes referred to as ‘scaling and polishing’. If you have been regularly forgetting to clean you might benefit from a professional cleaning. Even if you’ve been brushing religiously, there will still be areas that cannot be reached by a toothbrush or any other everyday cleaning methods. Hygienists use special tools to reach these areas and will remove the build up of plaque and calculus from them. Your teeth will also be polished, helping to remove any superficial stains. Regular appointments can also be beneficial as a hygienist will spot potential problems which may go unnoticed by the untrained observer.
Perhaps the most significant gift the hygienist can offer is the gift of knowledge. A hygienist will happily instruct you on the best brushing techniques and guide you through the best homecare products available. They may also offer dietary advice, regarding how your eating affects your teeth, or offer other advice regarding the mouth, such as giving up smoking. The main focus here is on prevention. You are in control of your mouth between dental checkups and following the hygienist’s instructions will help to prevent any problems developing between appointments. Whether it’s the cleaning itself, some new information or even just clarifying that you’ve been doing right, the hygienist plays a vital role in oral healthcare for patients near Hyde.