Dental Hygiene Program
At the dental gallery Point Cook, we have a dedicated dental hygiene program which is a collaboration between our dentists and our oral health therapist, to ensure you receive the highest level of preventive care.
What is an oral health therapist?
Oral health therapists are dental professionals who have dual qualifications in dental therapy and dental hygiene. Oral health therapists provide a wide range of dental care in a variety of settings to children, adolescents and adults. Oral health therapists work as members of a dental team.
At the dental gallery Lydia Wang is our oral health therapist. She provides dental therapy services to children and adolescents and dental hygiene services to people of all ages. She educates patients in ways to improve and maintain excellent oral health.
Why is a Dental Hygiene Program Important?
To safeguard your dental health and optimize your oral hygiene, we recommend that you regularly see our oral health therapist Lydia, as well as our dentists.
Over time, calculus (tartar) builds up on your teeth, both above the gum line and below, in the natural pocket surrounding each tooth. Calculus cannot be removed simply by brushing or flossing, and a visit to a hygienist for a professional clean is necessary to remove it. When left over a period of time, especially below the gum line, calculus can cause gingivitis (inflammation of the gums) as well as periodontitis (advanced gingivitis involving bone loss).
The majority of dental diseases are preventable. Visiting our oral health therapist every 6 months is an important step towards preventing the build-up of plaque and other oral health issues. Your dental health can affect your overall health, so it is important to keep it in check.
How does the Dental Hygiene Program work at the Dental Gallery?
Our dentists will provide a comprehensive examination of your teeth and gums. They take a holistic approach in assessing your dental health in conjunction with your overall health. During your initial and subsequent examinations you will see both the dentist and the oral health therapist to ensure no aspects of your oral health are neglected.
Our oral health therapist, Lydia will then provide the detailed assessment and care of your gums to ensure you are equipped with the right information and skills to maintain gum health.
What to Expect during a Dental Hygiene Appointment
At the beginning of your hygiene appointment, Lydia will make an initial assessment of your dental health. She will address your concerns and will assess the overall condition of your teeth and gums. These findings will be discussed with you.
During a hygiene appointment your teeth will be given a routine clean to remove plaque from your teeth and bacteria from the oral cavity. This involves the use of both an ultrasonic device and hand scalers to remove the hardened plaque (calculus) off your teeth. This is combined with a gentle flush of water to irrigate the gums and remove bacteria. Once the calculus has been completely removed, your teeth will be polished using a handpiece and some polishing paste.
In some people the process can be sensitive because they had previous gum disease and associated gum recession, have not had a clean in a long time or generally have more sensitive teeth. If you are one of those people Lydia and your dentist will devise a more comfortable plan to achieve an ideal result. This may include local anesthetic for the cleaning process and segmenting the clean over a couple of visits. The goals of the dental hygiene program include assessment, treatment, education and review.
Lydia will design an ideal home dental care routine specifically for you. If you are undergoing dental restorative or cosmetic treatment, a revised home care routine will be designed for you and monitored as the treatment progresses. This will help to ensure the best possible treatment outcome.
How to Care for your Oral Health between Appointments
Your Oral health therapist will give you tips and detailed instructions on how to look after your oral hygiene at home. Your home routine starts with brushing your teeth at least twice each day for 2 minutes and flossing once a day.
Brushing your teeth morning and night will adequately remove plaque from most surfaces of your teeth. You should brush for approximately 2 minutes using a gentle circular motion or an electric toothbrush. Brushing alone is not enough, as it doesn’t remove the plaque or food debris in between your teeth and that is why flossing is necessary.
You need to floss only once a day. You can use a length of floss between your thumb and fore fingers slowly work it between two teeth in a gentle sawing motion that also reaches just below the gum line. If you find flossing with the standard length of floss difficult, there are various tools available for flossing like the Mini flossers or flossettes. Another option is Piksters, inter-dental brushes that can reach areas your toothbrush cannot and are able to dislodge food and debris.
Your hygienist will work with you to develop a preventative approach that is tailored for you, depending on the condition of your dental health and the areas of concern. They can also show you the proper way to brush or floss and guide you to what will suit your teeth and gums and your lifestyle. You will be given some samples that you can try before you decide what you can use comfortably.
We understand that the concept of oral home care is simplistic yet it is difficult to be consistent with if you do not have the right tools and if you are not taught how to use those tools. At the dental gallery our goal is to ensure you are equipped with all the right information to care for your oral health in-between your dental and hygiene visits.