Dental Hygienist 

The dental hygienist is an essential member of any modern dental practice. The dental hygienist is specially trained in the treatment and prevention of gum disease. We will refer you to our dental hygienist if you have gum disease, are in need of a thorough scale and polish or are in need of instruction in how to perform your daily brushing and flossing correctly. A significant proportion of patients over brush in some area, resulting in tooth wear, while at the same time completely missing other areas.

Prior to opening our dental practice we worked in a number of dental practices in the UK and around Ireland. In some of these practices the basics of good gum health were not dealt with. This frustrated us because healthy gums and good oral hygiene are the corner-stone of a healthy beautiful smile. Not dealing with gum disease thoroughly is like building a beautiful house without a foundation. You’re storing up serious dental problems for the future, plus many studies show that improving your gum health will improve your general health.

Anybody who’s brushing and flossing is less than 100% effective will have gum disease, as unless you regularly remove the plague from your teeth bacteria grow in this plaque and cause an infection of your gums. Indeed even if a person’s oral hygiene is very good they are still likely to have gum disease if they have not been attending a dental hygienist or dentist regularly. This is because overtime everybody will get a hard build up on their teeth known as calculus or tarter. This build up creates a rough surface around which plaque and bacteria will thrive no matter how thorough a person cleans their teeth.

This calculus builds up both above and below the gum line. You may notice the calculus building up on the inside of your lower teeth. You may not however be aware of the calculus that has built up below the gum line. If you have not seen been seeing a dental hygienist regularly the likelihood is that you will need our hygienist to do a thorough “spring cleaning” to remove the tarter both above and below the gum line so that your own daily cleaning will be effective in removing the plaque containing bacteria which causes the gum disease. Another extremely important part of a hygienist’s role is to ensure that you are cleaning properly. A large proportion of people are brushing and flossing their teeth correctly.

The consequence of incorrect or inadequate brushing and not seeing the dental hygienist regularly is that you will have an infection in your gums called gum disease. You would not accept an infection anywhere else in your body and you should not accept it in your gums either. More often than not people are not aware they have gum disease until very late in the day. People may notice bleeding from their gums, bad breath or a bad taste in their mouths but in a large proportion of people gum disease does not cause pain. However if it is not treated the infection in the gums eats away at the support structures of the teeth, the bone supporting the teeth is lost and over time the teeth will get loose and the teeth will get abscesses or just fall out. Unfortunately we see this all too regularly.

In addition to tooth loss this chronic bacterial infection is also linked with heart disease, uncontrolled diabetes. It seems likely that the bacteria in unhealthy gums and some of their byproducts continually leach into the bloodstream and this is why untreated gum disease has such a significant effect on your general health.

Diabetes and Gum Disease (Link)

Your diabetes puts you at an especially high risk for developing gum (periodontal) disease. 

High levels of blood sugar, in poorly controlled diabetes, feeds the bacteria that causes gum disease (and other infections in your body), and so usually gum disease progresses more quickly in diabetics. 

This results in tooth loss much more quickly and earlier in life, in diabetics.  Evidence is mounting that allowing gum disease to persist, makes it harder for you to control your blood sugar.  Eliminating gum disease can improve your blood sugar control and reduce the likelihood for the serious complications of diabetes, a win-win for you! 

Therefore, it is extremely important for you to work with us to control your gum disease.  We need to continually monitor you for the earliest signs of gum disease and then take whatever steps are necessary to eliminate it.  Gum disease can occur without you even knowing it.  Often, only a dentist or hygienist can tell if you have any areas of gum disease in your mouth.  

Treating any areas of gum disease, in its earliest stage, can help you take better control your blood sugar and thus reduce the likelihood of your developing the typical complications of diabetes. 

We may recommend seeing you more frequently than twice a year.  We know through solid research that it takes about 2-3 months for bacteria to reorganize and cause disease.  Since it is easier for bacteria in your mouth to lead to problems, we need to see you more frequently to make sure that we eliminate any small flare-ups before they turn into bigger problems. 

In addition untreated gum disease is likely to result in tooth loss much more quickly in diabetics.

Inflammation anywhere in the body is bad.

Inflammation has been linked with many of the chronic diseases of aging. The mouth is a significant source of inflammation, where gum-disease is present. When your gums are inflamed bacteria gets through the inflamed gum and into your bloodstream daily. These bacteria can then travel wherever the blood flows. Bacteria from the mouth can get into the blood stream and clog arteries.

If you have gum-disease, you are at an increased risk for heart attack and stroke.

Heart disease is the leading killer of adults in Ireland. Thus, if you want to lower your risk for heart disease and stroke it is extremely important for you to work with us to treat your gum-disease. We need to continually monitor you for the earliest signs of gum disease and then take whatever steps are necessary to eliminate it. Gum disease can occur without you even knowing it. Often only, a dentist or hygienist can tell if you have any areas of gum disease in your mouth.

Treating any areas of gum disease in its earliest stage can help you lower your risks for heart disease and stroke. We may recommend seeing you more frequently than twice a year.

Smoking makes it easier for gum disease to occur, makes it more severe and more difficult to eradicate. Therefore, smokers tend to lose their teeth, as a result of smoking related gum disease, much younger than non-smokers.

Thus, we need to treat you more proactively than a non-smoker.

Why?

  • Gum disease can occur without you even knowing it. The carbon monoxide in cigarette smoke inhibits your body from growing the new (and fragile) blood vessels that allow your body to fight the infection of gum disease. In non-smokers, these little blood vessels bleed easily during brushing and flossing and it is obvious that they have an infection that needs to be treated.
  • Smokers don’t usually have bleeding gums and so they often don’t realise they have gum disease and seek treatment only when it is very advanced, and then it is much harder to control.

In general, gum disease is able to progress more rapidly in smokers, and bursts of disease activity can cause bone loss and tooth mobility in quite a short period of time, especially when other risk factors are also present, e.g. stress.

Ongoing gum disease is strongly linked with an increased risk for heart disease and other serious diseases. We will follow you closely and continually check for the formation of any areas of gum disease. We will also recommend treatment at the earliest signs of disease. Thus, we may recommend that the hygienist sees you more frequently than twice a year

We know through solid research that it takes about 2-3 months for bacteria to reorganize and cause disease. Since it is easier for bacteria to lead to problems, in your case we may need to see you more frequently to make sure that we eliminate any small flare-ups before they turn into bigger problems.

An increasing number of research studies are suggesting that second hand smoke can increase the risk for gum disease. It is important for other members of your household to be screened for the presence of gum disease.

You are also at a much higher risk of developing mouth cancer, over 75% of mouth cancers are smoking related.

Obviously quitting smoking altogether is probably the best thing you could do for your general and oral health.

Contact Abbeytrinity Dental Today! We want to see you smile! 🙂

1.800.555.6789