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Manchester Unity Building, 220 Collins St, Melbourne

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Dental Hygiene

Dental Hygienists are an integral part of our practice

The Importance of Dental Hygiene

To safeguard your dental health and optimise your oral hygiene, we recommend that you regularly see a hygienist as well as your dentist.

Over time calculus (tartar) builds up on your teeth, both above the gum line and below, in the natural pocket surrounding each tooth. Calculus cannot be removed simply by brushing or flossing, and so a visit to a hygienist for a professional clean is necessary to rove it. When left over a period of time, especially below the gum line, calculus can cause gingivitis (inflammation of the gums) as well as Periodontitis (advanced gingivitis involving bone loss).

The majority of dental diseases are preventable. Visiting a hygienist every six months is an important step towards preventing the build-up of plaque and other oral health issues. Your dental health can affect your overall health, so it is important to keep it in check.

What to Expect during a Dental Hygiene Appointment

At the beginning of your hygiene appointment, the dental hygienist will make an initial assessment of your dental health. They will address any concerns you have but will also look at the overall condition of your teeth and gums. Your hygienist will discuss their findings with you and explain what needs to be done next, whether that be to continue with your home oral care routine of brushing and flossing, or whether you require treatment.

During a hygienist appointment your teeth will be given a routine clean to remove plaque from your teeth and bacteria from the oral cavity. This involves knocking the hardened plaque (calculus) off your teeth with an ultrasonic device, which is accompanied by a gentle flush of water to irrigate the gums and remove bacteria.

Your hygienist will then use hand instruments to remove some of the finer calculus particles. Once the calculus has been completely removed, your hygienist will polish your teeth using a handpiece and some polishing paste. Then, after a rinse, you will be given a fluoride treatment.

How to Care for your Oral Health between Appointments

Your dental hygienist will give you tips on looking after your oral hygiene at home, and will give you detailed instructions. Your home routine starts with brushing your teeth at least twice each day and flossing once a day.

Brushing your teeth morning and night will adequately remove plaque from most surfaces of your teeth. You should brush for approximately 2 minutes using a gentle circular motion or an electric toothbrush.

Brushing alone is not enough, however, as it doesn’t remove the plaque or food debris in between your teeth, and that is why flossing is necessary. You need to floss only once a day. Gripping each end of a length of floss between your thumbs and forefingers, slowly work it between two teeth in a gentle sawing motion that also reaches just below the gum line. It is important not to be too rough with the floss or you risk damaging your gums. Another option is Piksters, inter-dental brushes that can reach areas your toothbrush cannot and are able to dislodge food and debris.

Your hygienist will work with you to develop a preventative approach that is tailored for you, depending on the condition of your dental health and the areas of concern. They can also show you the proper way to brush or floss, if you are unsure.

As well as cleaning your teeth, you can help prevent dental decay by eating balanced meals low in sugar and acid, and limiting snacking.

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