Dental Tips Blog


What Does A Dental Hygienist Do That I Cannot Do At Home?

Regular dental checkups are critical maintaining a person’s oral health and in many ways the most important part of the check up is the teeth cleaning, which is performed by a licensed dental hygienist   Often people ask why they need to have their teeth cleaned, as a part of the semi-annual teeth cleaning and checkups.  While there are several reasons, the most important is for the removal of plaque and tartar from the teeth, especially along the gum line!  Additional reasons include instruction on proper brushing and flossing, as well as to clean the teeth prior to the dentist’s examination.

Plaque is a biofilm containing bacteria that attaches to teeth over time, while tartar is plaque that has become hard.  Plaque and tartar can lead to tooth decay, periodontal disease and ultimately tooth loss if not removed.  Once tartar is formed on the teeth, it is very difficult to remove and traditional brushing and flossing are not capable of removing it.  A dental hygienist uses specialized dental instruments to scrape the tartar off.  In addition, they will also use an ultra-sonic cleaning device as well to remove the plague and tartar.

As at home oral care is critical for maintaining ones dental health, the dental hygienist will also instruct the patient on proper brushing and flossing techniques.  Often the hygienist can tell how well the patient is taking care of their teeth just by the amount of plaque and tartar that exist on the patient’s teeth.  Finally, the patient’s teeth must be clean, prior to the dentist examining the teeth, in order for the dentist to be able to detect any issues visually.

The dental hygienist is a critical part of the dental heath care team and pays a large role in the patient’s dental health!

Posted on behalf of Patrick O’Brien DMD, Carolina Comfort Dental


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