Kenilworth Dental Practice

Hygienist Treatments

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We all produce plaque, a soft sticky substance made up mostly of bacteria which forms on our teeth. If plaque is not removed effectively by toothbrushing and flossing it hardens forming calculus (sometimes called tartar), which can only be removed by a dentist or hygienist. Calculus has a rough surface which attracts more plaque and staining from food, drink and smoking.

The bacteria in plaque feed on sugar in food and drink and produce acid as a waste product. The acid then attacks the tooth surface by dissolving the minerals resulting in tooth decay. The bacteria also attacks the gum tissue causing inflammation and bleeding (gingivitis) and if left untreated the bone and supporting tissues also become infected (periodontal disease). This can result in teeth becoming loose and eventually being lost.

Periodontal disease is very common and as it has little or no symptoms most patients are unaware that they have it until it is too late. It also cannot be reversed BUT with regular treatment and good homecare you can prevent it getting worse.

At Kenilworth Dental Practice we have an extremely experienced team of dental hygienists. Their job is to remove plaque, calculus and staining from your teeth; treat periodontal disease and teach you how to maintain a healthy mouth by giving toothbrush advice and by showing you the best ways to clean between your teeth.

Scaling & Polishing

What Happens?

Scaling: the removal of the hard calculus deposits, is carried out with a combination of instruments:

Hand scalers: these are metal 'scrapers' which come in various shapes and sizes to reach different parts of the teeth; you will see the hygienist changing instruments.

Ultrasonic scalers: use a tip that vibrates very fast to break up tenacious calculus deposits. Water is used to cool the tip and prevent teeth being heated; the water is removed from your mouth using a small suction device. If your teeth are particularly sensitive a small amount of local anaesthesia can be applied.

R.S.D. - Root surface debridement: if a patient has periodontal disease small 'pockets' form between the teeth and the gum allowing plaque and calculus to form on the root surface. This needs to be removed regularly and the hygienist will use the same instruments to do this. This process called RSD is often carried out with local anaesthesia but not every patient requires it.

Polishing: Once the plaque and calculus have been removed, the hygienist will polish your teeth to remove any remaining staining. The hygienist will use an instrument similar to an electric toothbrush and special polish to do this.

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