How often should i see the dental hygienist?

How often should i see the dental hygienist?

Posted by Eyes of Lady Wimbledon | 23 November 2023 | Health & Fitness

Factors to consider when determining the frequency and duration of your hygiene visits.

Maintaining consistent dental hygiene visits is essential for preserving your oral health. The frequency and duration of these visits depend on factors such as your oral health condition, personal hygiene habits, overall health, age, and lifestyle.

Remember to consult with your dental hygienist or dentist at Dental Rooms to determine the most appropriate schedule for your unique needs. By prioritizing regular dental hygiene visits, you can ensure that your smile stays healthy and radiant for years to come.

  1. Ever wondered what all those numbers that your hygienist records mean?

The 3 main deposits that form on the teeth are:

  • Plaque biofilm

The soft, sticky substance that is removed with your toothbrush and floss. When plaque biofilm is not adequately removed the bacteria within it cause the gums to become inflamed and bleed.

  • Calculus

Also known as tartar. These hard deposits form when the soft plaque is not removed and the salts in our saliva cause the sticky biofilm to calcify.  This needs to be removed professionally as it cannot be removed with a toothbrush or floss.

  • Stain

Caused by tannins in our foodstuffs – mostly tea, coffee, red wine and by nicotine and tar from smoking and vaping. Surface staining can be removed at a preventive care appointment.

Experienced Hygienist at Dental Rooms can explain more about the BPE scores and deposits when you book your appointment with your hygienist. Click here for Dental rooms appointments

At each hygiene session one of our dental hygienists will record a Basic Periodontal Examination  (BPE). This a rapid screening tool which allows us to quickly assess your periodontal health and determine your treatment needs

When recording a BPE your mouth is divided into 6 sections (sextants) and each sextant is given a score between 0 and 4 based on the condition of your gums. 0 reflecting healthy gums with no plaque or bleeding when probed and 4 being deep pockets (5.5mm or more) with inflammation and bleeding.

A score of zero in each sextant is perfect and what we would love to achieve for all our patients.  Most people have a BPE score of 1 in at least 1 or 2 sextants which means there is some bleeding on probing (this may be noticed occasionally when you floss or use interdental brushes). Although gingivitis affects over half the population (52.9%) of Great Britain, bleeding gums are not ‘normal’ and should not be ignored. (National Dental Epidemiology Programme for England, Oral health survey of adults attending general dental practices, Public Health England, 2018).

A score of 2 means there is some calculus (also known as tartar). These hard deposits form when the salts in our saliva harden the soft plaque that has not been removed by daily home care efforts. Calculus is not dissimilar to limescale which forms in a kettle. The level of gum disease associated With a BPE score of 1 or 2 is fully reversible. Your hygienist will remove any plaque and calculus allowing your gums to heal very quickly when combined with good daily plaque control at home.

Patients with BPE codes of 3 and 4 indicate Periodontitis, it is likely there is some permanent and irreversible damage to the gingival tissues. Patients with Periodontitis require more a in-depth assessment and more complex treatment to stabilize and manage the irreversible condition. Our hygienists will work with individuals to remove deposits from the teeth and achieve excellent home care habits with regular supportive periodontal maintenance sessions.

 

At Dental Rooms, the best dentist in Wimbledon village  we help you understand this in an easy manner by using this table.

BPE SCORE Health of your gums What you need Frequency of preventive care visits
0 Healthy

No bleeding

Maintenance of good home care

Standard appointment

(up to 30 minutes)

 

Annual
1 Mild gum disease

Bleeding gums

Standard appointment (up to 30 minutes)

 

2 visits a year
2 Mild to Moderate gum disease

Bleeding, calculus

Initial extended session (up to 60mins)

Clinician to advise follow up length (30-60mins)

 

2-3 visits a year
3 Moderate Gum disease

Deep pockets & calculus

Extended sessions

(up to 60 minutes)

 

4 visits a year
4 Advanced Gum disease (irreversible)

Deep pockets, bone loss

Intensive sessions for deep cleaning & referral to Gum Specialist

(up to 60 minutes)

 

4 visits a year

 

  1. Why do we have 2 different appointment lengths? 

We have long since moved away from the ‘quick scale and polish’ terminology and understand more and more the links between chronic periodontitis and cardiovascular disease, diabetes, adverse pregnancy outcomes and dementia.

Hygiene sessions allow us to screen, treat and monitor disease and hygienists can advise on specific home care modalities for each patient. Providing an accurate and up to date medical history at each visit allows us to look for potential systemic links and risk factors.

All new patients are required to have a comprehensive hygiene session lasting up to one hour to enable our hygienists to make a full assessment, diagnosis and provide the relevant oral health advice and treatment necessary.

A standard hygiene appointment lasts up to 30 minutes and is designed for patients with BPE scores of 0, 1 or 2 who attend for hygiene sessions 3 or 4 times a year.

As mentioned above, patients with a BPE score of 3 or 4 fall into the category of Periodontal Disease. Unlike gingivitis, periodontal disease is not reversible and requires more complex treatment. In these patients it is likely that the hard calculus deposits have formed not only above the gum line but underneath the gum as well. Individual pockets need to be measured, recorded and then cleaned – often with anaesthetic for maximum patient comfort. Some level of irreversible periodontitis affects almost half of UK adults (NHS Digital. Adult Dental Health Survey 2009 – Summary report and thematic series [NS] London: The Health and Social Care Information Centre; 2011 )

Periodontal disease is a lifelong disease requiring excellent home care, regular monitoring and hygiene maintenance.  Some code 4 patients will require referral to our Periodontist (gum specialist). Periodontally involved patients require extended hygiene appointments which last up to an hour. Patients with complex medical histories, tooth and gum sensitivity, heavily restored dentitions and implants may be advised to have the extended sessions in order to treat them thoroughly and effectively.

Gum health is so important, especially as we are living longer and need to keep our teeth functional for as long as possible. Good gum health is the foundation for all other aspects of dental treatment so book in to see one of our hygienists who will be able to answer any further questions you have.

At Dental Rooms, you also have the opportunity to visit both the dentist and hygienist on the same day, by simply calling our friendly reception team on 02089462426 or emailing on reception@dentalrooms.co.uk for appointment availability.

https://www.dentalrooms.co.uk/

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