Happy National Dental Hygiene Month!

October 18, 2018

Every October we want to highlight our hygienists hard work as it’s National Dental Hygiene Month. They are always striving to better serve their patients and October is a time to help us raise awareness about the importance of good oral health. It is also a time to celebrate the important work they do on a daily basis. We are so fortunate to have 4 wonderful hygienists that put our patients at ease and encourage them to work toward a healthier smile. They are continually educating themselves to learn the best ways to improve oral health and to make it more accessible for everyone. National Dental Hygiene month is the perfect time to discuss the basics of periodontal disease. Read on to learn more about the disease your hygienist is working hard to treat and prevent every day.

Let’s start with gingivitis, this is a mild form of gum disease that presents with red, swollen and bleeding gums. It is caused by a buildup of plaque (which contains bacteria) on the teeth. Gingivitis is reversible. With regular dental cleanings and good oral home care you can prevent gingivitis from progressing. Periodontal disease or periodontitis is the advancement of untreated gingivitis. When plaque is left to accumulate, over time your body’s inflammatory response starts to do irreparable damage. The gums begin to form deeper pockets, becoming harder to clean and more buildup occurs below the gumline. Without treatment, the cycle continues with more gum tissue and bone being destroyed. Once the bone is lost, it cannot be regenerated. As you can imagine this leads to loose teeth and eventual tooth loss.

Your hygienist’s focus is to prevent and treat periodontal disease. Treatment for periodontal disease starts with gum therapy, also referred to as “deep cleanings” or “scaling and root planing.”  This entails the use of anesthetic and specialized instruments to reach and adapt below the gumline to remove the tartar and plaque buildup at the depths of the pockets. Another tool that our hygienists at Laurel Dental have is the use of lasers. We have seen great results when this is implemented along with patient’s scaling and root planing. For more information on the benefits of lasers refer back to a previous blog post of ours dedicated to this specific topic.

If your hygienist determines your gum disease is advanced to a point that a specialist (Periodontist) would best serve you, a referral will be given and our front office team will work on coordinating an appointment with our local periodontist. They will be making sure that your dental records are given to their clinic prior to your visit. We have enjoyed a great relationship with Olympic Peninsula Implants and Periodontics! Our patients are in great and capable hands with Dr. Hong and his staff conveniently located in Port Angeles. We are lucky to have such great talent at our disposal!

Once the disease has been treated, good home care is imperative. Your hygienist will discuss the best tools for you based on your individual needs. They will also likely recommend a more frequent recall schedule. Many people are unaware that the 6 month recall frequency is intended for those with a healthier mouth. The goal is to prevent periodontal disease at these visits. A 3-4 month recall is appropriate for anyone that has undergone treatment for gum disease. The more frequent recall helps to keep your gums stable and the disease under control.

I would like to conclude by thanking our amazing team of dental hygienists. Dayna, Julia, Laura, and Stacy work hard everyday to keep their patients healthy. As always if you have any questions, don’t hesitate to ask them. If you’re ready to begin your journey to a healthy smile, give us a call! 360-452-9744

 

Happy Dental Hygiene Month!

 

References

American Academy of Periodontology: https://www.perio.org/consumer/types-gum-disease.html#OverlayWrapper[flash]/0/

 


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