We all know that brushing and flossing at least twice a day is the best way to prevent tooth decay and gum disease. But many of us don’t realise that regular appointments with a dental hygienist are vital in ensuring optimum oral health – along with a brighter, shinier smile, of course.
At Ollie & Darsh, we believe prevention is better than cure. That is why we offer professional dental hygiene services to members and non-members alike. Keep reading to learn more about a hygienist’s work, what they can help treat and prevent, how to get the most out of your appointments, and why you should entrust our dental team with your oral hygiene.
What Qualifications Should I Look For When Looking At Dental Hygienists?
All dental hygienists in the UK must take a course approved by the General Dental Council (GDC) before they can register. Some of these courses include a Diploma in Dental Hygiene and Dental Therapy, a Dental Therapy and Hygiene BSc, an Oral and Dental Health Sciences BSc, and a BSc in Oral Health Sciences (Hygiene and Therapy). So look for a hygienist with one of these diploma or degree-level qualifications.
Qualified hygienists (and dentists, for that matter) should display their registration number on their website, which you can cross-reference by searching the GDC’s registers for more details.
How Much Experience Should A Dental Hygienist Have?
The GDC-approved courses mentioned above typically involve two to four years of intensive study and training, including practical work experience in a clinical setting. In addition, newly qualified dental hygienists usually work under the prescription of a dentist for at least one year before carrying out any treatments on patients directly.
What Are Some Essential Factors To Consider When Picking A Dental Hygienist?
Here are just a few essential factors to consider when picking a dental hygienist:
Most dental clinics have a hygienist in their team. If you can find a good practice nearby that has a reputable hygienist, you are probably more likely to attend your appointments than if you have to travel a long distance.
Dental hygienists often work on a freelance basis – sometimes in more than one clinic. So it’s worth checking their hours before you decide to book, as they might work different patterns than the rest of the dental team.
Dental hygienists need to be excellent communicators. If at all possible, check review sites or – even better – speak to friends and family who are patients to find out whether their hygienist would be a good fit for you.
Finding out what and how you can pay for your hygiene appointments in advance is a good idea. Many clinics, like Ollie & Darsh, offer memberships that include several hygiene appointments a year.
What Tasks Does A Hygienist Normally Carry Out?
Dental hygienists usually carry out a wide range of tasks, including the following:
- Clean, polish and scale teeth
- Remove plaque and tartar
- Take impressions and X-rays
- Provide preventative oral care and advice
- Offer tooth brushing and flossing guidance
- Conduct oral cancer screenings
- Carry out deep cleaning above and below the gum line
- Provide dental implant aftercare
- Take impressions for implants and braces
What Are Some Questions I Can Ask During My Hygiene Appointment?
Here are a few questions you might want to ask during your hygiene appointment to get the best possible care:
- How can I improve my oral health?
- How do I get rid of bad breath?
- How do I stop my teeth from being sensitive?
- What are the best brushing and flossing techniques?
- What toothbrushes and interdental brushes do you recommend?
What Can I Expect During A Routine Dental Hygiene Appointment?
During a routine dental hygiene appointment, your hygienist will conduct a dental hygiene examination, including checking your gums for any bleeding or irregularities.
They will then scale and polish your teeth. Scaling involves removing any stubborn build-up of plaque or tartar while polishing smooths the surface of your teeth (which helps to reduce the likelihood of bacteria clinging on) and removes any superficial stains.
Finally, your hygienist may offer practical advice and guidance to help you improve your oral hygiene routine.
Your Quickfire FAQs About Dental Hygiene
At Ollie & Darsh, we’re always happy to talk through any of your questions, but we thought it would be useful to lay out some of the common questions our patients ask about dental hygienist appointments:
Is It Worth Seeing A Dental Hygienist?
Yes! Paying for a dental hygienist saves you money in the long run. It’s the first line of defence for preventing common dental issues like gum disease and cavities, and they can spot any problems early on, so you are less likely to need expensive procedures from your dentist in the future.
Do I Need To See A Dental Hygienist?
Absolutely! Hygiene appointments are vitally important for everyone. Hygienists play a crucial role in maintaining your oral and general health, and they help to keep your teeth better-looking, too. So, to avoid serious dental problems down the line and maintain a brighter smile, it is well worth seeing a hygienist regularly.
How Often Should You Visit A Dentist For A Hygiene Appointment?
Ideally, you should see a dental hygienist every six months. However, this really depends on your oral health. Some people require more regular visits to keep on top of any issues.
Can I See A Hygienist Without Seeing A Dentist?
Yes! Assuming you are not seeing a newly qualified hygienist, most appointments with a hygienist are completely separate. Therefore, unless otherwise advised, you are unlikely to see your dentist as well.
Do Hygienists Remove All Plaque?
They try their best! Hygienists have specialised tools to help remove the sticky film of plaque and its hardened equivalent, tartar.
Upgrade Your Dental Hygiene At Ollie & Darsh
Now that you know a little bit more about the work of dental hygienists, could your teeth benefit from a little extra TLC? Here at Ollie & Darsh, our talented dental therapist, Samantha, will take great care and attention to ensure your teeth and gums are kept in tip-top condition. With her skill, guidance, and a little of your own effort at home, you can improve your oral care routine and maintain a healthy, happy mouth for life.
Accessing our dental hygiene services couldn’t be easier. You can either take up one of our membership plans for as little as £13.95 a month to secure at least two 30-minute appointments a year. Or, if you just need the occasional hygiene reservation, you can access our hygiene services on a pay-as-you-go basis.