How Long Does Dental Hygienist Take?

How Long Does Dental Hygienist Take?

How Long Does Dental Hygienist Take?

Visiting the dental hygienist is an integral part of maintaining an excellent dental hygiene routine and keeping your mouth – and the rest of your body – healthy. But going to the dentist’s office is a source of fear and paranoia for a lot of people. Having dental procedures done can be uncomfortable, but having toothache or serious dental infections can be much much worse. So it’s in your best interests to visit the dental hygienist as a part of your oral care program.

Let’s look at what a dental hygienist does, how long it takes and why it’s important you go to the dental hygienist to keep your mouth healthy.

Is a Dental Hygienist the Same as a Dentist?

A dental hygienist is not the same as a dentist, so those with odontophobia – or fear of going to the dentist – can relax. Unlike dentists who are qualified to operate and perform serious dental procedures like root canals and tooth extractions, dental hygienists are there to help you keep your mouth clean and advise you on how you can improve your oral hygiene routine.

They are qualified, attending college or university for at least 2 years to receive their diplomas in dental hygiene and dental therapy, but they don’t have permission to perform dental surgeries.

What Happens in a Dental Hygiene Appointment?

What Happens in a Dental Hygiene Appointment?

A dental hygiene appointment can vary slightly depending on how often you have appointments and how well you maintain good oral hygiene.

When you first arrive, the hygienist will have a look at the overall state of your oral hygiene to see where there are any issues and ask if you experience any sensitivity in your teeth, or gums or have any issues that you would like addressed. This is the check-up.

Then, the dental hygienist will use some small tools to clean your teeth, removing the plaque from the gaps between your teeth that are harder to reach with the bristles of your toothbrush and any other areas where plaque has built up such as the backs of your teeth, or the front if you don’t brush effectively. This part may worry some, as the instrument used sounds a little like a drill, but in reality, it’s quick and painless, and your hygienist can talk you through what they’re doing at each stage to make you feel more at ease. 

Once the plaque has been removed, the dental hygienist will proceed to polish your teeth to remove any surface stains and make them sparkle. This is not the same as teeth whitening, which uses chemicals and UV light to remove stains and whiten your teeth to your desired shade. However, after the scale and polish, your teeth will usually be noticeably brighter.

At the end of your appointment, your dental hygienist will advise you on any areas of your mouth that need extra attention, or perhaps how to brush or floss more effectively if you have a lot of plaque built up. If you smoke or have a high-sugar diet, this will usually be clear to the hygienist from your teeth, and they will advise you to stop smoking and cut down on sugars to help keep your teeth and gums healthy.

How Long is a Dental Hygiene Appointment?

How Long is a Dental Hygiene Appointment?

A dental hygiene appointment can be summed up into four main stages.

A dental hygienist will:

  • perform a check-up
  • clean your teeth
  • polish your teeth
  • advise you on how to improve your oral hygiene

Exactly how long the appointment takes depends on how much plaque you have on your teeth that requires deep cleaning. However, generally, dental hygiene appointments will be booked for 20 minutes to one hour. At Didsbury Dental Practice you can choose from a 20-minute quick clean, a 30-minute deep clean, and a 30-minute deep clean followed by a 30-minute teeth whitening session, which cost from £20 to £120.

If you have teeth whitening performed during your hygiene appointment, you should avoid eating and drinking anything but clear water for a couple of hours after your appointment. However, if you simply have deep teeth cleaning, you can eat as normal after your dental hygiene appointment. If you’ve had a lot of plaque removed, your teeth may feel strange for a couple of days as you adjust, and for the first few hours after the appointment they may be sensitive to very hot or very cold foods, but this will ease.

Why Visit a Dental Hygienist?

Why Visit a Dental Hygienist?

Although you should be brushing your teeth and flossing twice a day, every day, to keep your mouth free from harmful bacteria, it’s natural for some bacteria to stick to the small gaps between your teeth and build up to form plaque over time. That’s why you should see the dental hygienist once every six months to have any plaque removed and prevent your teeth from developing cavities as the bacteria eats through the enamel protecting your teeth.

If you have particularly sensitive teeth or naturally thin enamel, you should visit a dental hygienist every 3 months to ensure they are sufficiently clean.

But as important as removing plaque, is the hygienist’s ability to keep an eye on your oral health and point to any arising issues. We can keep our teeth clean as best we can, but without the knowledge of dental problems and oral diseases, we might not be able to prevent more serious issues in our mouths ourselves. Dental hygienists are trained to be able to spot issues with your oral health, so they can advise on how to fix the hygiene issue before it gets worse or visit a dentist or doctor for a needed surgical procedure.

Dental hygiene issues don’t just stay in the mouth; our anatomy means that bacteria, infections and inflammation can travel from our mouths through our bloodstream and oesophagus to cause other, potentially serious health problems in other parts of our body.

Potential Consequences of Poor Oral Hygiene

The consequences of not maintaining good oral hygiene can range from moderate, such as bad breath or acne, to life-threatening, such as increased risk of heart attacks, so keeping your mouth clean is of the utmost importance.

Other potential consequences of poor oral hygiene include:

Stopping smoking and cutting down on sugar are excellent ways to improve your dental hygiene as well as reduce your risk of developing heart disease, cancer and diabetes. However, it’s also crucial to practise excellent oral hygiene to improve your dental health and further reduce your risk of developing serious illnesses.

How Can You Maintain Good Oral Hygiene?

How Can You Maintain Good Oral Hygiene?

As well as regularly visiting a dental hygienist, having the best dental health starts with you and how you look after your teeth – and that primarily starts with your diet.

By reducing sugars in your foods and especially in drinks, you can cut down on the food you’re providing for the bacteria living in your mouths that allow them to feed and spread, causing dental plaque.

You should also brush your teeth first thing in the morning before eating or drinking anything, as this removes any leftover bacteria that has been living and reproducing in your mouth overnight that would otherwise feed on your breakfast with you. What’s more, you should avoid brushing your teeth within one hour of eating, as brushing can push the food particles and sugar into the gaps in your teeth rather than removing them as you may think.

Dentists also recommend using a soft toothbrush, as they can effectively remove bacteria and plaque from your teeth, without risking damaging the protective enamel on your teeth as hard toothbrushes do. Using a soft toothbrush is also better for brushing more sensitive parts of your mouth that still need cleaning such as your tongue and gums, which many people forget or neglect.

Book Your Dental Hygiene Appointment Today – Didsbury Dental Practice

Seeing a dental hygienist is so important for your teeth and your overall health, and it just takes up to one hour, twice a year! With affordable dental hygiene appointments at Didsbury Dental Practice, if you’re in the Manchester area, what are you waiting for? Book your dental hygiene appointment today!

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