Dental Hygiene Importance
Dental Hygiene Importance
Newsletter for October, 2014
ďUnless someone like you cares a whole awful lot nothing is going to get better. Itís not.Ē - Dr.Seuss
Dental hygiene is an integral component of a patientís dental and systemic health. Here in my practice, I have three registered dental hygienist. The duty of a dental hygienist is to perform prophylactic dental cleanings at regular intervals on patients. The dental hygienist also educates the patient in a variety of home care implements to improve their periodontal health.
During a dental cleaning, radiographs are taken to assess the health of the teeth. Patients will then have their blood pressure taken to help understand more about their overall health. If a blood pressure is high, that is explained to the patient. Next, the patient will have probing measurements taken from six sites per tooth. These measurements enable us to recognize periodontal disease. Following the probing of the teeth/gums, the hygienist performs debridement of the teeth with a combination of hand instrumentation and an ultrasonic. All of the plaque and tartar is removed from the teeth. The hygienist also polishes the teeth, which gives them the smooth feeling.
While the hygienist does clean teeth, there is so much more that goes into a dental cleaning appointment. The hygienist performs an oral cancer screening, assesses if a patient is grinding their teeth, if carious lesions are present they document them. Soft and hard tissue abnormalities and anomalies are recognized. Education on homecare, smoking and diet is also provided, the list goes on.
At the end of the appointment, the Doctor performs an exam on the patient. Any issues found, are discussed with the patient and follow-up appointments are arranged.
Dental cleanings should be done minimally twice a year, or every six months. Some patients require a more frequent interval between cleanings.
Periodontal health simply cannot be maintained by coming once a year or worse yet, every several years. The tartar continues to build up on the teeth thus leading to periodontal disease. The resulting loss of gum attachment to the tooth and bone loss around the tooth is detrimental to both the oral cavity and the patientís systemic health. Periodontal disease is linked to difficulty controlling diabetes, preterm/low birth weight babies, heart disease and cancer. So, diagnosing and treating periodontal disease early on is imperative. In addition, cavities (which start out very small) do not have the opportunity to be diagnosed and grow into larger and more costly dental problems.
Routine dental cleanings are an easy way to preserve oral health and prevent future problems.
Michael W. Dagostino, DDS
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