I believe one of the most valuable services we offer you is via our soft tissue maintenance program. You may know it as a teeth cleaning or dental hygiene program – but I think it’s so much more than this. During these visits, the primary function of our experienced hygienists is to monitor and control your gum disease.
But the other thing I really value my hygienists for is that they help me as a dentist spot your teeth breakdown in its early stages, and they help and encourage you to hone your daily oral hygiene practices to reduce your overall risk of disease.
Keeping gum disease at bay with regular effective care is critical to keeping your teeth for life with less cost and less hassle.
HYGIENE + HOME WHITENING
I truly believe in the quality program that our hygienists offer and the overall health benefits you’ll receive in their care.
And I’d love for you to be able to meet them.
So if you’re new to Melbourne Dentist, why not take up our “Clean Teeth and Whitening” offer.
Prevention is a primary focus of Melbourne Dentist and professional teeth cleaning is an integral part of this philosophy.
Regular maintenance of your teeth and gums has now been shown to be crucial for your overall health. Substantial research has found links between gum disease and conditions such as heart disease, stroke, diabetes and digestive disorders.
A dental hygiene visit at Melbourne Dentist begins with a thorough screening of your current health. Gum pockets are measured to check the periodontal condition of each of your teeth. Your teeth are then meticulously cleaned above and below your gums.
At first we use an ultrasonic unit. It’s used to gently vibrate off the hard sticky deposits that are causing your gums to be diseased.
Your teeth are then gently hand-scaled to ensure that all of their surfaces have been cleared of build-up.
A minty polish finishes your appointment to leave your teeth sparkling clean.
Our hygiene appointments are also often combined with whitening top-ups, making it easier than ever to maintain your white smile as well as the health of your teeth.
What is a dental hygienist?
Our dental hygienists play an essential collaborative role in our practice.
Both of our hygienists are registered university graduates who are trained to ensure that you receive the most comprehensive holistic oral health care. They have broad experience in dentistry and great personalities to help make the whole process so much easier.
Their primary focus is on the prevention and treatment of gum disease, but in truth they offer you so much more – read on below to find out what happens in a hygiene appointment.
Knowing that our hygienists are managing the preventive dental care in the practice, Dr Treherne can focus on other specialized and complex dental procedures.
CLICK HERE to meet our hygienists
What happens at a hygiene visit?
- Updating and reviewing medical and dental history and ensuring accuracy of dental charting.
As your dental health can effect your oral health and vice versa, it’s very important to consistently complete this step for you.
- Evaluating the health of your gums by directly measuring gum pockets. You can only treat what you measure!
Gum pocket measurement determines the position of the attachment of your gums to each tooth. There is a normal range for these measurements and its these values that determine what treatment is carried out by us, your own personal maintenance visit timetable and the potential need to refer you to a specialist periodontist if the condition is not responding.
- Evaluation of the gum tissues surrounding any implants you have present
- Assessment of the adequacy of your home care measures.
With modern coloured plaque staining gel, we make it really easy for you to see the areas’ you’re missing. The coloured stains that are left on your teeth not only shows us where the plaque is on your teeth, but where plaque has been left for a longer period and where more dangerous plaque may have collected that can cause decay. So we can really hone in on the areas that are a problem for you.
With this really clear visual guide, we can help you fine tune your own technique. And we can give you solutions to help you combat the build-up so that you can help prevent this disease on a day to day basis.
- If it’s indicated, our hygienists can take x-rays for you. This is our way to look inside your teeth and catch any disease as early as possible. From these we can determine the condition of your existing fillings and their potential to encourage gum disease. Poorly shaped and badly fitting fillings will trap food and bacteria that will lead to decay but also to irritation and damage to your gums in the area. Your gum and bone health can also be seen and monitored on the films.
Removal of dental plaque, stains and calculus
- Your teeth are meticulously cleaned.
- First, an ultrasonic unit is used to gently vibrate off the hard sticky deposits that are causing your gums to be diseased.
- They are then gently hand-scaled to ensure all surfaces have been completely cleared of build-up.
If this part of the process is rushed, small areas of build-up will remain hidden and these will act as focal points for bacteria to stick to at your very next meal.
- Irregularities of the shape of any of your existing fillings may also be removed by this process. ‘Overhangs’ encourage the trapping of food – if they can’t be removed with a scaler, then your filling should be replaced.
- A minty polish finishes your appointment to leave your teeth feeling smooth and sparkling clean.
- If your teeth are sensitive our hygienist will offer you various ways to lessen discomfort, including topical numbing pastes to desensitise your gums or a gentle local anaesthetic where necessary.
- This is a very important part of the visit. If we can refine and improve your home hygiene measures, less calculus will collect before your next maintenance visit. Not only will your gums and supporting bone be preserved, but the next clean will be easier and the time between maintenance visits may be able to be extended.
- A home care program is specifically designed for you. With so many products available on supermarket and pharmacy shelves these days, it can be difficult to know which ones will be right for you and how they should be correctly used.
- The program will enable you to access all areas of your mouth, particularly those hard to reach areas or around complex dental work.
Teeth whitening services
- Our hygiene appointments are also often combined with whitening top-ups, making it easier than ever for you to maintain your white smile as well as the health of your teeth.
- Mouth impressions can be taken for the production of mouthguards or study casts. Study casts are used by Dr Treherne in planning more complex treatment.
Application of preventive sealants and fluorides to teeth
Planning for the future
- Hygiene maintenance visits are important to keep disease at bay over the long term. They are not simply six monthly as tradition dictates. The time between your gum recare visits is determined by a fairly strict protocol and can vary from two monthly to eighteen months. Correct measurement and monitoring of gum attachment is the key. It’s only by measuring the gum response to treatment and home care that we can set a maintenance plan.
- If your gum disease has progressed to a certain point, we may recommend referral to a specialist periodontist. Our hygienists will help coordinate and monitor this process.
Why is periodontal maintenance necessary?
Once dental plaque sticks to your teeth, it must be somehow removed by you. And while the techniques to do so can be learned, it’s the consistency of oral hygiene measures that’s important. The correct techniques need to be applied day in, day out regardless of the ever changing conditions in your mouth. Most people find this consistency of maintenance challenging and this is why regular oral hygiene visits are important.
Your daily oral care routine is only made more complicated when gum tissue is lost to the effects of gum disease over time. Your root surfaces that were previously covered over your gums are now exposed into the mouth. These root surfaces are not like the pearly white smooth surfaces of the crown of the tooth. They are slightly rough and have irregularities and indentations making them much harder for you to maintain.
A further issue is that periodontal disease is actually magnified by your bodies response to many aspects of your general health. Some people are more susceptible to gum disease due to this response.
Unfortunately, just getting to be disease free at one point in time does not guarantee a long term cure. So many factors can effect gum health from month to month, and year to year. Areas that have been stable and relatively disease free for many years can quickly and silently spiral out of control in surprisingly short periods. And once gum disease has a foothold, it can be nearly impossible to truly get rid of thereafter.
Many factors need to be considered in determining your maintenance interval – the frequency of maintenance depends on the reaction of your gums to home maintenance and professional management over time. At Melbourne Dentist, we have firm protocols in place to help determine the appropriate intervals based on sound scientific principles.
With regular reviews and maintenance, serious costly treatments can be avoided or pushed further into the future.
The bulk of patients attending our practice remain vigilant in their maintenance and enjoy exceptional dental health. We’d love for this to be true for you to!
What is periodontal (gum) disease?
Gum disease is the leading cause of tooth loss in older adults and will effect most people at some time in their lives.
It is caused in most cases by a build-up of bacteria on our teeth called plaque. The bacteria releases toxins and the body releases chemicals to counteract them. This cocktail of chemicals destroys gum tissue and eventually destroys the bone that supports these gums. These chemicals also drift to distant sites of your body and this is how gum disease contributes risk to your general health.
Once the bone surrounding your teeth is lost, it will never return. And as more of it is lost, your teeth loosen and eventually require removal.
It is a slowly progressing disease that is most often silent until the later stages. The initial stage is called ‘gingivitis’ where there is bleeding, redness and swelling of the gum but no bone loss. This is easily reversible with no long term defects.
‘Periodontitis’ will develop if gingivitis is not treated. It is a disease that involves the gums and the deeper supporting tissues that surround the tooth.
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