What does a dental hygienist do?

Our St Johns Wood hygienists play a vital role in your oral healthcare. Seeing them regularly helps you to take the best possible care of your teeth and gums so that you can avoid problems, particularly those associated with gum disease.  The early symptoms of gum disease often go unnoticed, yet in its later stages it can cause teeth to become loose and even fall out.

Our highly skilled hygienists will ensure that your teeth are smooth, clean and free of staining. They will give you the best of advice on how to brush, teach you an easy way to clean between your teeth and be able to help you choose the products that are most suited to your needs. 

Following the oral hygiene advice of our hygienist means that we can help keep your gums free from disease.

Common questions and answers about a dental hygienist

What are the tools that a dental hygienist uses?

A dental hygienist has a wide range of tools and equipment at their disposal to help you with keeping your teeth and gums healthy.

Hand-held instruments

The hygienist uses a range of different shaped instruments and mirrors, each designed to help remove the plaque deposits from your teeth. Mirrors help the hygienist see the inside of your teeth (tongue) and also help to keep your cheeks and tongue out of the way during your visit.

Ultrasonic scalers

These use high-frequency sound waves and water to remove deposits and scale on your teeth. Because they are contactless and apply less pressure to your teeth you will find our more comfortable than manually removing the plaque. Clinical studies have also independently confirmed the speed, efficiency and versatility of ultrasonic scaling.

Polishing instruments

Once your teeth have been cleaned using the handheld instruments and ultrasonic scalers your dental hygienist can move on to polish your teeth. This removes any surface stain and ensures that the surface of your teeth are extremely smooth meaning they stand less chance of attracting stains and deposits in the future.

To polish your teeth a slow speed rotary buffing cup will be used in the dental handpiece along with a fresh tasting polishing agent.

Dental injections

If you have to have deep scaling by the hygienist this may be uncomfortable without an injection. Your hygienist may administer a local anaesthetic to ensure you remain comfortable throughout the treatment.

Is it painful at a dental hygienist?

Generally speaking a dental hygienist appointment is not painful. Your hygienist does however need to clean below the gum line and this can sometimes be uncomfortable.

In extreme circumstances your hygienist may be able to offer a local anaesthetic to ensure your complete comfort.

One of the best pieces of advice we can give to keep dental hygiene appointments as pain-free as possible is to ensure your daily dental hygiene routine is up to scratch. If you manage to keep your teeth clean and healthy each day then plaque buildup will be a minimum, this means there is less work your hygienist to do which keeps treatment more comfortable.

What is a scale and polish?

A scale and polish is a simple term for removing plaque from the tooth (scale) and then polishing the teeth (polish) to remove excess stain and ensure the surface of the teeth is smooth.


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