Oral Health FAQs
How often should I visit the Hygienist?
THE FREQUENCY OF APPOINTMENTS REQUIRED IS DETERMINED BY THE STATE OF YOUR GUMS, YOUR GENERAL HEALTH AND RISK FACTORS.
Your OHT may need more than one appointment to return your mouth back to health.
Once health is attained, your hygienists and dentist will advise optimal ongoing care program based on your individual needs.
Most of the time, your oral health maintenance visits will coincide with your examination by the dentist. It makes sense that these two procedures are done at the same time as it is a more thorough examination especially if there are no buildup on teeth to see through and is more convenient.
What happens during your first Hygiene appointment?
1. Assessment of your gums and bone level.
By assessing digital [radiographic] images of the whole mouth and specific locations as well as
measuring your gum and bone support.
Measurements between 1-3mm are considered healthy.
Anything above 3mm, means that there is loss of bone and gum support for the teeth.
Any sign of bleeding or infection means that disease is present.
More than one appointment may be necessary to treat your gums depending on the findings and your individual risk factors.
2.) Thorough gum treatment/care:
Thorough gum treatment would be undertaken in the form of scaling. As calculus is very firm and difficult to remove, our OHT use special instruments and their skills to remove the calculus. Often, they would also use ultrasonic instrument to remove the larger calculus deposits from your teeth follow by gentle removal of the remaining smaller pieces of calculus by hand and floss and polish all the teeth.
This helps remove stains: giving you a cleaner, whiter smile.
3.) Fluoride treatment to strengthen your teeth, prevent decay and sensitivity
Fluoride is important in preventing decay around teeth and restorations (fillings) and reducing any sensitivity that you may have after your gum treatment.
At Hartwell Dentistry, we recognise the benefits of fluoride and provide fluoride treatment after gum treatment according to international recommendations.
Let us know if you have any issue or concerns about fluoride.
4.) Assess your cleaning techniques and work out a more effective regime for you
YOU ARE RESPONSIBLE FOR THE DAILY CLEANING OF YOUR TEETH AND GUMS. Therefore, it is important that you understand the best techniques and products that CAN be used.
5.) Booking your next appointment
What is gingivitis vs periodontitis?
Healthy gums: healthy gums have almost no plaque around the teeth. Healthy gums are usually pink, do not bleed when brushing or flossing and are tight against the tooth.
Gingivitis: if plaque (bacteria and food debris) is not cleaned away from the teeth regularly, it builds up around the gums. Plaque irritates the gums like the splinter does to the skin. As a result, the gums become swollen, red and will likely bleed when you brush your teeth. If the plaque is not cleaned away while it is still soft, it will become hard and calcified (calculus or tartar). Gingivitis can be reversed to healthy gum health if the plaque is cleaned away effectively.
Periodontitis: the gums lie on top of bone which is important in supporting the tooth. If home care is not effective, plaque will stay along the gum, forming calculus. As more plaque is deposited, the calculus continues to form so that it penetrates under the gums, towards the root of the tooth, where the bone is. The gums will be swollen, red and bleeding as it was during the gingivitis stage – but the difference between gingivitis and periodontitis is that with periodontitis, the bone underneath the gum starts to break down. Bone loss can occur to the point where the tooth loses its support, becomes wobbly, and possibly falls out.
Bone loss is irreversible. Once bone is lost, the best outcome after treatment with the hygienist is to keep the bone level at the same level for as long as possible.
Once the calculus is removed, it allows for the gums to return back to health as long as the teeth and gums are kept clean.
Does bleeding gums affect my general health?
Bleeding gums can actually be a sign of much larger health concerns.
Bleeding gums can be an indicator that you have periodontal (gum) disease. Research shows that inflammation associated with periodontal disease is directly linked to heart disease, stroke, diabetes, Alzheimer’s and other major health issues. In fact, at this very moment over 50 systemic diseases with oral relationships are being researched. Sometimes the first sign that there is something wrong is seen in the mouth.
So, what will you be doing the next time you notice your gums are bleeding? Here are some tips:
• Focus on brushing and flossing your teeth twice a day for at least 1 – 2 weeks.
• Use salt water mouth rinse once a day, again for 1-2 weeks.