Dental Hygienist

The main role of the hygienist is to thoroughly clean and polish your teeth and remove any plaque deposits. Our hygienist will be able to advise you on correct cleaning techniques and will recommend the correct products to aid effective cleaning.

Cathy Harrison

Our Hygienist graduated from QUB is extremely enthusiastic about her role in the care of our clients, drawing great satisfaction from tailoring oral health programmes to suit each individual’s particular needs. She plays a vital role in the dental health and maintenance of all our patients.

Gum Disease

Q. What is gum disease?

Gum Disease

Gum disease describes swelling, soreness or infection of the tissues supporting the teeth. There are two main forms of gum disease: gingivitis and periodontal disease.

Q. What is gingivitis?

Gingivitis means inflammation of the gums. This is when the gums around the teeth become very red and swollen. Often the swollen gums bleed when they are brushed during cleaning.

Q. What is periodontal disease?

Long-standing gingivitis can turn into periodontal disease. There are a number of types of periodontal disease and they all affect the tissues supporting the teeth. As the disease gets worse the bone anchoring the teeth in the jaw is lost, making the teeth loose. If this is not treated, the teeth may eventually fall out.

Q. Am I likely to suffer from gum disease?

Probably. Most people suffer from some form of gum disease, and it is the major cause of tooth loss in adults. However, the disease develops very slowly in most people, and it can be slowed down to a rate that should allow you to keep most of your teeth for life.

Q. What is the cause of gum disease?

All gum disease is caused by plaque. Plaque is a film of bacteria, which forms on the surface of the teeth and gums every day. Many of the bacteria in plaque are completely harmless, but there are some that have been shown to be the main cause of gum disease. To prevent and treat gum disease, you need to make sure you remove all the plaque from your teeth every day. This is done by brushing and flossing.

Q. What happens if gum disease is not treated?

Unfortunately, gum disease progresses painlessly on the whole so that you do notice the damage it is doing. However, the bacteria are sometimes more active and this makes your gums sore. This can lead to gum abscesses, and pus may ooze from around the teeth. Over a number of years, the bone supporting the teeth can be lost. If the disease is left untreated for a long time, treatment can become more difficult.

Q. How do I know if I have gum disease?

The first sign is blood on the toothbrush or in the rinsing water when you clean your teeth. Your gums may also bleed when you are eating, leaving a bad taste in your mouth. Your breath may also become unpleasant.

Q. What do I do if I think I have gum disease?

The first thing to do is visit your dentist for a thorough check-up of your teeth and gums. The dentist can measure the ‘cuff’ of gum around each tooth to see if there is any sign that periodontal disease has started. X-rays may also be needed to see the amount of bone that has been lost. This assessment is very important, so the correct treatment can be prescribed for you.

Q. What treatments are needed?

Your dentist will usually give your teeth a thorough clean. You’ll also be shown how to remove plaque successfully yourself, cleaning all surfaces of your teeth thoroughly and effectively. This may take a number of sessions with the dentist or hygienist.

Q. What else may be needed?

Once your teeth are clean, your dentist may decide to carry out further cleaning of the roots of the teeth, to make sure that the last pockets of bacteria are removed. You’ll probably need the treatment area to be numbed before anything is done. Afterwards, you may feel some discomfort for up to 48 hour.

Q. Once I have had periodontal disease, can I get it again?

Periodontal disease is never cured. But as long as you keep up the home care you have been taught, any further loss of bone will be very slow and it may stop altogether. However, you must make sure you remove plaque every day, and go for regular check ups by the dentist and hygienist.

Interdental Brushing

Q. What is an interdental brush?

Interdental

It is a small brush that can be held between your thumb and your fingers. Interdental brushes are available in various sizes which enables you to choose which size is most suitable for you. You may need to use more than one size to enable you to effectively clean all spaces between your teeth.

Q. Why clean between teeth?

Over the course of a day, food and debris get lodged in between your teeth, and in any gaps you may have. If left, this debris can cause dental decay and gum disease. Removing food debris and plaque with an interdental brush will help keep your breath fresh. Cleaning in between your teeth makes sure that you are cleaning your mouth as thoroughly as possible.

Q. Should I use an interdental brush instead of my normal toothbrush?

No. These small brushes should be used as part of your normal oral hygiene routine to be effective.

Q. Why is my normal toothbrush not enough?

You will know that there are certain places in your mouth that are difficult to reach with your normal brush. There are also some gaps between your teeth that your toothbrush will not be able to access.

Q. How can the interdental brush help?

With its small filaments and tiny bottle type head, the brush can be moved between the teeth to remove debris and plaque that will not have been removed by your usual toothbrush. They are available in two textures, original and Soft giving an effective option for even the most sensitive gums and teeth.

Q. How do I use it?

Select a suitable sized interdental brush. Never force the brush between the teeth. Between front teeth, use a finer brush, turning slightly to ease the brush comfortably between the teeth. Remove the brush by gently pulling thereby removing plaque and debris. Repeat the turning motion to re-insert and pull out several times until you are satisfied the space is clean. For larger spaces nearer the back of the mouth, a larger headed brush might be needed. To be as effective as possible, shape the head into a slight curve DO NOT bend at right angles. You will then be able to easily locate and clean the space effectively. Always rinse brush in clean water during and after use

Q. When should I use it?

You need to clean between all your teeth at least once a day.