Sometimes having to wait until your next check-up before you can see the hygienist is having to wait too long. Perhaps you have an important occasion coming up, or you have started dating, or you have restorations in your mouth that feel like they are building up a thick layer of plaque. At times like this, it’s nice to be able to see the hygienist for a scale and polish, even if you aren’t due an appointment for quite a while.
Did you know that since 2013, it’s possible to see the hygienist without having to see the dentist first? The General Dental Council changed the rules for hygienists, having decided that patient safety would not be put at risk if they got their teeth cleaned without first having a check-up.
It makes sense to allow people direct access to the hygienist because having plaque professionally removed can only improve your oral health.
Plaque, that layer of sticky bacteria that builds up on your teeth between brushings, is responsible for tooth decay and gum disease. It gives off acids that corrode tooth enamel, creating the holes through which decay and infection can enter.
Acids from plaque also attack the gums, inflaming and irritating them, causing them to become red and to bleed. As gum disease advances, the gums pull away from the teeth and then plaque can get underneath them and start corroding tooth roots, which have no enamel to protect them, and also the bone around the teeth.
Left untreated, both decay and gum disease lead to tooth loss, often via painful infection.
Help with removing plaque and tartar
Even if you carry out your diligent twice-daily brushing and daily flossing to remove plaque and tartar, there are bound to be some nooks and crannies that you can’t get at. Plaque in those places hardens into tartar, a chalky substance that won’t respond to brushing, but still gives off acids, right onto your teeth and gums.
The only way to get rid of this is to see the dental hygienist here at Smilecraft in Stevenage. So, come on in whenever you feel the need for a scale and polish.