The oral hygienist has an important role in the overall care of oral health. Oral hygienists work in collaboration with the dentist and/or dental specialist, periodontist, and the care is always based on examination, planning of care and follow-up performed by a dentist. Preventive oral health care is a comfortable and low-cost alternative in order to avoid corrective care.
An oral hygienist's tasks include tartar removal and treatment of inflammations of the gums, cleaning of teeth, self-care guidance, fluoride application, saliva tests and nutritional guidance. Patients may also schedule an appointment with a dental hygienist directly for tooth whitening and removal of stains.
At DioDent, cases of advanced inflammations of the gums are always treated by a dental specialist.
The mouth normally contains bacteria that adhere on the surfaces of teeth and gum lines. The bacterial mass building up is called plaque. If plaque is not removed regularly, it may harden as a result of the impact of minerals in saliva. Hardened plaque is called tartar. In order to prevent plaque from becoming tartar, the teeth should be brushed twice a day. In addition, cleaning the spaces between the teeth is vital in preventing the formation of tartar. Dental floss, toothpicks or interdental brushes can be used in the cleaning, depending on the width of the interdental spaces.
Tartar builds up the most in areas that are difficult to clean, such as narrow gaps between the teeth. Also, in teeth next to the excretory ducts of salivary glands, plaque more readily hardens into tartar. Tartar may form both above the gum line and in the periodontal pocket, under the gum. Calcified tartar inflames and irritates the gum and makes it more difficult to keep the gum line clean. An inflamed gum is red, swollen and bleeds easily. If the inflammation is able to advance deeper into the gums, the tooth's connective tissues are also damaged.
The buildup of tartar is very individual. In some people, the composition of saliva hardens plaque into tartar in as little as a few weeks, whereas others hardly experience any tartar formation whatsoever. After plaque has turned into tartar, it can no longer be removed at home. The cleaning interval varies depending on the individual. Generally, it is recommended to remove tartar approximately once a year. A dentist or a dental hygienist may perform the tartar removal.
Tartar can be removed using hand instruments or an ultrasonic scaler. With hand instruments, tartar is removed mechanically by scraping the surface of the tooth both above and below the gum. In connection with the removal of tartar from periodontal pockets, a local anesthetic can be used to numb the gum. The tip of the ultrasonic scaler is run along the surface of the tooth. The ultrasonic scaler's vibration and water spray together remove discoloration and tartar from the surfaces of teeth. The use of an ultrasonic scaler is painless.