Dental hygiene for a better lifeMon, 1st Jun 2020
If you are already a patient at the Gentle Touch, you will know that dental hygiene is a big focus for us. It’s all part of our management of gum disease which, for several years, has been founded on education and prevention.
Our thinking has recently been reinforced following a worldwide review of the classification and management of periodontal (gum) disease. This period of lockdown has given us the perfect opportunity to further refine the way we look after your gums. As a result, your dental hygiene appointments may feel a little different.
The science of gum disease – in a nutshell!
Gingivitis (gum swelling) and periodontal disease are caused by bacteria that collect at the gum line as dental plaque (biofilm). If not thoroughly cleaned, the gum starts to come away from the tooth, forming pockets and the plaque grows down under the gum. Over time, the body’s defenses over-react to this bacterial ‘invasion’ resulting in the supporting bone being destroyed, the gums shrinking, and eventually making the teeth wobble.
If we detect early warning signs, the aim is to disrupt and remove this bacterial biofilm (plaque) over time. This explains why home cleaning is so important, and why dental hygiene appointments help. Therefore, we want to take this opportunity to focus on this aspect of your care, as the lockdown measures are lifted.
The ‘new-look’ hygienist appointment
The initial appointment – no ‘scale and polish’*
- We will measure ‘cleaning’ scores
- Then, we’ll review your current cleaning regime
- We will suggest some tips and tricks to improve if/where needed
- Take-away goody bag complete with sample to get you started.
*if you would prefer to still have a clean, your hygienist or dentist can still do a ‘hand scale,’ until Covid-restrictions are lifted – just let us know when we contact you to arrange your appointment.
Next hygiene appointment 3-6 months later
- If the advice has been followed, the health of your gums will have improved and any pockets will have reduced in depth.
- If necessary (in the case of periodontal disease, where pocketing is still present), we will carry out more detailed measurements
- Your hygienist will remove any tartar – and it will be much more comfortable to do so.
- Some people need additional help, and this is fine too. If in agreement, we can spend more time in this first phase of treatment, identifying why some areas may not have improved.
Next hygienist appointment 6-12 months later
- With a good response to this treatment, you will have healthy gums and know how to keep them this way. We will simply review your gums every 6-12 months (and provide an AIRFLOW treatment, if applicable, see below).
- With an okay gum response and you are still keen to improve your gums, we can go back to a supportive role by reviewing plaque removal and give you a professional clean. We will do our best to support you in any way we can.
- When it is not possible to maintain tooth/gum cleaning at an optimum level, we shall do everything we can to support you with advice and treatment where required.
If you have any questions about our management of gum disease, please do not hesitate to ask.
Those of you who are lucky enough to have healthy gums
Those with healthy gums do not need traditional hygiene treatments and so we are about to invest in the state-of-the-art AIRFLOW system. This is the ideal treat for healthy gums (and will replace the ‘scale and polish’). The air polish lifts plaque and staining in the gentlest way leaving your teeth feeling fresh and healthy. Due to COVID restrictions, we can’t offer this treatment straight away – we will be in touch soon if this is applicable to you.
Meet the hygiene team
Our wonderful dental therapist, Robyn, is on maternity leave following the birth of her son, Max. Max is six-months-old and is as cute as a button. Robyn is looking forward to seeing you all again on her return.
Clare joined the team in November 2019 and was originally covering Robyn’s maternity leave. We liked her so much, that we asked her to stay! Thankfully, she agreed and is looking forward to being able to care for you again.
I would also like to take this opportunity to welcome Michelle Paxton. Michelle is a dental therapist, just like Robyn. Therefore, she will be supporting our practice hygiene care as well as carrying out other treatments.
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