What Happens at a Dental Hygiene Appointment?

What Happens at a Dental Hygiene Appointment?

What Happens at a Dental Hygiene Appointment?

A dental hygiene appointment is a routine dental check-up that most people should have around twice a year. But if you haven’t been to the dentist’s office in a while, or you’ve been advised to visit the dental hygienist and don’t know what to expect, it’s normal to be apprehensive.

Let’s take a look at what you need to do before and after your appointment as well as what to expect from the dental hygiene appointment itself.

Preparing for Your Appointment

Preparing for Your Appointment

There are no rules to follow before you go to see your dental hygienist, however, there are a few bits of advice that may help you get the most out of your appointment as well as get rid of any nervousness or embarrassment about having food stuck between your teeth or coffee breath, for example.

In the hour before your dental hygiene appointment, try to avoid smelly foods and drinks like garlic, fish or coffee, so you won’t feel any embarrassment when your hygienist gets close to your face to look at your teeth. It can also be beneficial to avoid food or drink that can stain your teeth so your hygienist can clean them effectively.

Whether you’ve eaten before your appointment or not, it can also be useful to brush your teeth before you have your dental hygiene appointment so any food or bacteria between your teeth can be removed for more effective cleaning, and you’ll have pleasant breath for your hygienist.

During Your Dental Hygiene Appointment

During Your Dental Hygiene Appointment

The dental hygiene appointment itself will comprise three main things:

  • A dental health check-up
  • A teeth cleaning
  • Advice on further dental care

When you first arrive for your dental hygiene appointment, the dental hygienist will look at your teeth, gums and tongue to assess your overall oral health. They will be able to spot any issues with your teeth that need addressing such as cavities, cracks or broken teeth, as well as issues with your gums like gingivitis, known as gum disease.

The dental hygienist will then clean your teeth of any plaque using specialised tools. Plaque is a substance formed by bacteria that sticks to our teeth, most often in the gaps between our teeth where it’s harder to reach with a toothbrush. The plaque slowly eats away at our teeth and once through the outer layer of protective enamel, can cause inflammation and infections of the sensitive dental pulp.

Although we should all be practising excellent oral care to prevent plaque from building up, it’s natural to have some on our teeth. The dental hygienist will scrape this away to help protect your teeth and also give them a cleaner appearance. The process of teeth cleaning is painless for most people, however, if you have thin tooth enamel or are usually sensitive to very hot or very cold food or drink, you may experience some sensitivity when your teeth are being cleaned. Your dental hygienist will stop at any point you’re uncomfortable.

Then, they will ask you about your oral care routine and advise you on ways you can improve, as well as which areas of your mouth need particular attention, for example, if you have plaque building up in one area more than others.

Does a Dental Hygienist Make Your Teeth Whiter?

A dental hygienist won’t whiten your teeth, but the process of cleaning the plaque off your teeth will also help make them appear whiter. Plaque is a yellowy substance that surrounds your teeth, particularly if you don’t floss regularly, so removing this will help your teeth look much cleaner and even a little whiter as well.

After your teeth have been cleaned, the dental hygienist will also polish your teeth. This wears down any cracks and rough edges where plaque can stick more easily and gives them a shiny appearance which also helps to make your teeth look whiter and brighter after your dental hygiene appointment.

After Your Dental Hygiene Appointment

After Your Dental Hygiene Appointment

Once your dental hygiene appointment is over, you’re more or less able to carry on life as normal. In most cases, you can eat as soon as you’d like after your dental hygiene appointment, however, if you’ve had a fluoride treatment which helps to clean your teeth further, you should wait at least two hours before eating or drinking anything so the fluoride can effectively cover and protect your teeth.

If you’ve had a deep clean, your teeth may feel a little strange after your appointment, but it won’t take long to get used to your teeth, as it’s just the plaque that has been removed, leaving more space between your teeth. If you have particularly sensitive teeth, however, you may want to avoid very hot or very cold food or drinks for the rest of the day.

For longer lasting brighter teeth, you should also avoid eating food or drink with strong staining properties on the same day as you’ve had your dental hygiene appointment. So definitely don’t go home and have a chicken bhuna and a glass of red wine if you want to keep your teeth looking fresh.

Why it’s Important to See a Dental Hygienist

Why it’s Important to See a Dental Hygienist

Although dental hygienists aren’t able to perform dental procedures like adding fillings, performing root canals or extracting teeth, that doesn’t mean visiting the dental hygienist isn’t worth your time. In fact, having a regular dental hygiene appointment should be part of your oral care routine.

Looking after your teeth isn’t just about having a shiny white aesthetically beautiful smile. Although this can be great for self-confidence, keeping our mouths bacteria-free is crucial for our overall physical health. Bacteria in the mouth can lead to infections of the gums, and any untreated infections in the mouth can cause inflammation in the cardiovascular system. When blood vessels are constantly inflamed, we have a much higher risk of developing cardiovascular disease which increases the risk of heart attacks and strokes.

Poor dental hygiene can also affect many other parts of our bodies from our stomachs to our skin, so practising excellent oral hygiene is imperative for our health. So, since plaque will build up naturally on our teeth over time even while brushing well, seeing a dental hygienist for a scale and polish, or deep teeth cleaning, will help remove any leftover plaque to keep our teeth in great condition.

How Often Should You See a Dental Hygienist

Most people should make an appointment to see their dental hygienist twice a year, or once every six months. But if you have sensitive teeth, thin enamel, or are in some way prone to brittle teeth or plaque build-up, your hygienist will recommend you see them more regularly, for example, every four months.

However, getting an appointment with an NHS dental practice this often is much easier said than done.

The NHS has a shortage of dentists and patients are experiencing long wait times for appointments, putting their oral health at risk. Private practices are often not much more expensive than NHS dental practices, and there are more available appointments, making it easier to make a dental hygiene appointment with a private practice.

Here are some other reasons why private dental practices are often better options than NHS alternatives:

  • Longer appointment times
  • More personal care
  • Easier to make initial appointments
  • More state-of-the-art equipment available
  • Payment plans for more expensive treatments
  • Cosmetic dentistry available

Book Your Dental Hygiene Appointment Today!

Didsbury Dental Practice is a 24-hour dentist in Manchester so anyone can get their teeth seen to at a time that suits them, with the utmost care and professionalism. As well as having dental hygiene appointments, we also have dentists ready to perform any necessary procedures as well as cosmetic dentistry, so you can have access to the care you need all in one place, without having to get to know a new dentist every time.

Book your dental hygiene appointment with Didsbury Dental Practice today!

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