The PDU is run by the Dental Hygienist, a oral health practitioner specialising in preventive dentistry. Her responsibilities are assisting patients by teaching oral education and treating gum disease from mild to severe cases of periodontitis.
Treatments provided by the hygienist will consist of professional tooth scaling and polishing plus the application of medicaments relating to gum disease.
Preventing Dental Disease
At the first appointment with the hygienist a full oral examination of the teeth, gums and oral tissues is undertaken. This assessment is important to establish the oral condition and how many visits will be necessary to complete the treatment.
To treat and prevent gum disease careful removal of dental calculus (tooth stone) is carried out using a combination of sonic scalers and very fine hand scaler instruments.
This procedure is usually free of discomfort. However some patients with extremely sensitive teeth and gums may feel more comfortable with an application of topical anaesthetic gel applied first.
Other aspects of specialist oral care are patients with dental implants and orthodontic appliances. Plastic dental scalers are used to treat patients undergoing these treatments, as metal instruments may damage the appliances.
Dental Caries (Tooth Decay)
Reducing dental decay is another important treatment offered by the hygienist. Controlling excess sugar in our diet and applying topical fluoride applications every six months may considerably help to reduce the formation of tooth decay. The hygienist can assist patients with dietary advice and the correct toothpaste, mouthwashes etc to help with this disease.
All patients will be advised to brush their teeth twice a day using an effective brushing technique either with a manual or automatic toothbrush. Additional dental adjuncts such as interdental brushes or dental floss will be recommended after measurement to fit the space between the teeth.
Children are encouraged to attend for six monthly check ups, and can benefit from a simple tooth polish and topical fluoride application to help keep the teeth remain strong and resilient to dental decay.
Children's dental visits are made as fun as possible to help reduce any anxiety they may have.
Cessation of Smoking.
Research has suggested patients who smoke, have a pre- disposition to periodontal disease, and can lose more teeth than non- smokers. The hygienist can offer advice and methods for smoking cessation.
Patients with Special Needs.
Some patients attending for dental treatment may require additional assistance and advice for their extra needs. Cancer patients may need additional oral care on a more regular basis to ensure the teeth and gums remain healthy.
Diabetic patients are advised to attend for regular dental visits as diabetes can pre-dispose them to periodontal disease.
Patients with physical and mental disabilities will be advised and offered various alternatives regarding home oral care.
Finally the hygienist is available at all times for any oral health concerns for patients attending the clinic. Home care in between dental appointments is essential to ensure a successful outcome of controlling gum disease and dental decay.
We look forward to seeing you at the Preventive Dental Unit.