Sometimes a trip to the dental hygienist can cause anxiety in even the most relaxed people, especially if you have never been to one before. The anxiety often comes from a fear of the unknown. I would like to give you an insight into what a typical appointment with a Smile Solutions hygienist will involve so that you know what to expect when you arrive for your appointment – and therefore can hopefully shed any anxiety you might have. Firstly, you will be greeted at reception by our lovely, friendly administration staff. They will check you in and be only too pleased to address any of your questions or concerns while you relax in our lounge area. You are welcome to read a magazine or just enjoy some peace and quiet until one of our equally lovely dental hygienists collects you. The hygienist will lead you to one of our well-equipped and serene surgeries, where you will take a seat in a truly comfortable dental chair. The hygienist will ask you a few questions about your general health and your dental health, including any concerns you may have about the health or appearance of your teeth or gums. Once your needs or concerns have been established the hygienist will tilt you back in the chair to have a look in your mouth. During the initial assessment of your dental health the hygienist will not only address your concerns but also look at the overall condition of the teeth and gums and take some measurements to see how tight the gums are against the teeth. These measurements check to see whether gum disease is present, and if it is they give an indication of the severity of the disease. Once the initial assessment has been completed the hygienist will explain their findings to you and let you know what is happening in your mouth and what can be done to help, both in the clinic and at home by you, showing you tooth brushing and flossing techniques as well as addressing any of your concerns. More likely than not, this will be followed by a routine clean. A routine clean with a dental hygienist starts with the use of an ultrasonic device. The ultrasonic gently vibrates and knocks the hardened plaque (known as calculus or tartar) off the teeth. This is accompanied by a gentle flush of water to irrigate the gums and remove bacteria. The hygienist will then follow up with hand instruments. These hand instruments remove some of the finer spicules of calculus which can cause bleeding and irritation under the gums. After the calculus has been removed, the hygienist will then “prophy” (polish) the teeth. This is done by using a handpiece with a rubber cup or brush on the end, not unlike an electric toothbrush, and some polishing paste. The polishing paste is gritty, contains fluoride and is generally a mint flavour. This will be applied to each tooth and will make them feel and look great, removing some extrinsic staining as well. You will be able to rinse your mouth out after the polishing and then you will be given fluoride treatment. Once the fluoride has been given, your routine clean is complete and you will be asked not to eat, drink or rinse for half an hour. By now, the appointment is nearly over and this is a good time to ask any questions you might have about the treatment received or required, or about home care or any other relevant topics that you are interested in. The hygienist will be happy to answer these questions. You will be pleased to know that your appointment is now complete and the hygienist will accompany you back to reception and help you book any further appointments that may be required, including your next check-up in six months’ time. Now that you know what to expect from your Smile Solutions hygiene visit, we hope you will have less fear of the unknown and be able to relax and enjoy the experience.
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