Why your six-monthly check-up is crucial: How your dental hygienist can help

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Oral Hygiene and Dental Therapy
BOH (LaTrobe)

We all agree that prevention of disease is always better than a cure therefore six-monthly check-up is crucial.

Dental Hygienist and therapist Chatelle Wehi reveals how Smile Solutions helps prevent oral and dental problems for their patients.

What sorts of issues do you deal with when seeing a patient at Smile Solutions?

We start with an assessment and an evaluation of the patient’s periodontal tissue; in other words, their gums and their teeth support. This tells us a great deal about the patient’s state of oral health. If the patient’s oral health is good, we design a home dental care routine specifically for them. We give them a head start on this in the surgery by first removing plaque, calculus and general staining and possibly by applying a decay-preventing agent. We also carry out a comprehensive examination including x-rays as required. We work in conjunction with experienced general dentists to determine the health of the teeth and to provide the patient with an itemised treatment plan and quotation before any appointments are scheduled.

Do patients sometimes need to come back to see you in conjunction with a dentist or dental specialist?

They do, especially before restorations or say a teeth-whitening procedure, or during an after treatment with porcelain veneers, crowns, implants and braces. To give the patient the best possible outcome from these treatments, we provide a monitored revised home care routine for them.

So you really have a before and after role – prevention comes before and hopefully instead of treatment, and maintenance comes afterwards?

That’s true. After any initial hygiene consultation or dental treatment, regular six-monthly check-up and follow-up appointments with us, in combination with the home care I mentioned, will help maintain healthy teeth and gums.

And what if a hygienist has concerns beyond the scope of hygiene treatment? 

If you require advanced treatment we will refer you internally to one of our registered specialists. In the case of gum-related problems, this will be one of our periodontists.

Can you tell me what exactly is the role of a periodontist?

A periodontist is a specialist whose primary role is to care for the gums and bones that support teeth. Periodontists follow up on gum problems identified by our hygienists and general dentists, but they also collaborate with the other specialists in the specialist centre. Such as our team of prosthodontists in preparation for the various tooth replacement options that we have available which include dental implants.

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