Oral hygiene is a very important part of our practice and in the prevention of dental problems.
At River Dental we have a highly trained university educated Oral Health Therapist who works directly under the supervision of the dentists. As a team, they aim to deliver a much higher level of preventative dental care to help you maintain optimal dental health.
Gingivitis is an inflammation or redness affecting the gums surrounding the teeth caused by bacteria accumulating on teeth, around under the gum line. It is in fact the early stages of gum disease.
A gingival pocket is a space between the gum and the root of the tooth. In a healthy tooth the gingival pocket is between one and two millimetres deep and does not bleed on gentle probing with a special blunt measuring tool. In early gingivitis the pocket enlarges to between two to three millimetres, is not usually tender and often bleeds when disturbed by cleaning or by probing. Signs of gum disease are usually bleeding when brushing or flossing teeth, redness, swelling and occasionally tenderness.
As gum disease progresses due to infrequent or ineffective oral hygiene, the gingival pocket gets deeper tracking down the root and destroys the bone around the tooth.
Our Oral Hygienist
At each hygiene visit, Our Dental Hygienist carries out a periodontal (gum) examination. She will also thoroughly scale and polish your teeth to remove any plaque and calculus (scale or tartar) which has accumulated above and below the gumline. She is also adept at providing:-
- personalised oral hygiene instructions so you know the best way to look after your mouth – prevention is better than cure!,
- dental education so that as a patient you have a better understanding of any problems you may experience,
- dietary advice to prevent erosion, tooth decay or bad breath,
- re-mineralisation advice to help to slow down early lesions (the start of tooth decay) that may be present,
- diagnosis and treatment of gingivitis and periodontitis. If advanced gum treatment is required this is able to be done using local anaesthetic if requested.
Periodontitis is an infection affecting the gum and bone around a tooth. Gingivitis, if left untreated can progress to periodontitis.
Signs of periodontitis are bone loss around teeth, increased gingival pocket depth greater than four millimetres, gum recession, bleeding gums, loose or mobile teeth, teeth which maybe tender when chewing as well as bad breath.
Patients are usually not aware of their condition until it is too late as initially there is not normally any pain until later stages. In late stage gum disease swelling, tenderness on chewing and pain become obvious. Treatment at late stage gum disease is difficult and teeth are often lost. It is critically important to treat gum problems at an early stage to prevent gum disease progressing.