dental check up

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Dental Hygienist

Dental Hygienist

An estimated 75% of Irish people suffer from some form of periodontal disease or gum disease.
The mouth can be a major source of chronic release of bacteria into the bloodstream, so your oral health also affects your general health.

– Studies have linked the presence of gum disease to:
– Heart Disease
– Diabetes
– Low birth weight and pre-term babies
– Stroke

What is a Dental Hygienist?

A dental hygienist is a dental professional, registered with the Irish Dental Council. They work alongside dentists to provide oral health care. They have training that specialises in the prevention and treatment of oral disease.

What to expect from a Dental Hygienist?

An initial exam?
Our Dental Hygienist will review your medical history. After an initial examination of your oral health and level of plaque control, some measurements are taken to diagnose and identify areas of gum disease (Periodontitis). We may take a full mouth x-ray to consider the bone levels around the teeth.

Education
The main focus of a Dental Hygienist is to provide preventative education. We will discuss your current oral health and highlight any areas of concern; from this we can tailor a homecare regime specific to your needs. We will also discuss the best plaque control techniques and aids to use. Finally, we consider any diet or lifestyle factors which might impact on your oral health.

Treatment
Our hygienist will suggest a treatment plan to meet your needs and discuss this with you prior to commencing treatment. To clean your teeth our hygienist uses an ultrasonic scaler, which combines high frequency vibrations and water spray to flush deposits from your teeth. Most patients tolerate this treatment comfortably. However if you are prone to sensitive teeth there are a number of measures we could take to make your teeth less sensitive e.g. applying a numbing gel. After scaling, your teeth will also be polished to remove any residual stains. This is done using a powered polishing hand piece, a bit like an electric toothbrush and a gritty polishing paste.

Protracted Periodontal Gum Treatment or Deep Cleaning
In certain cases, patients require a deeper cleaning to remove tartar from under the gum-line. We numb the area with a local anaesthetic and the area is then cleaned using an ultrasonic scaler and smoothed with hand scaling instruments.

Maintenance
Patients with little or no gum disease will only need one Dental Hygienist session with six-monthly maintenance visits. However patient’s with Periodontal disease treatment might need to attend as often as three-monthly to slow down and manage the progression of disease.

PRSI Subsidy towards your Dental Hygiene
Patients who are qualified on PRSI are entitled to a subsidy of 42 euros towards the cost of gum treatment. This benefit can be used once per calendar year. Gum treatment is also tax deductible at 20%. This is done through the Med 2 form which we can organise for you.

If you’d like to make an appointment with our Hygienist Charlotte Quinn, give us a call on 01 8401001

www.swords-dental.ie

What health problems can dentists spot?

Regular dental care is critical to the overall health of your gums and teeth. What you may not know is that we can also spot signs of non-dental medical issues in your mouth during an exam. Some of the diseases and conditions that show signs within your mouth include diabetes, infections, oral cancer, HIV, stress, poor nutrition, and osteoporosis.

Diabetes

A few of the signs that can indicate a diagnosis of diabetes include loose teeth, dry mouth, and receding, dry, and bleeding gums. Poor immunity and an inability to fight disease effectively also make it much more difficult for wounds and gum infections to heal in diabetic patients. Bleeding gums don’t always mean that you have diabetes. This problem can also come from gingivitis and other gum diseases. However, these early warning signs might lead us to encourage you to visit your doctor for a blood sugar check.

Infections

If we see any troubling signs of infection in your mouth, we can prescribe some antibiotics to fight the problem. Signs of infection include severe pain, swelling, redness around the affected area, a surface that feels hot to the touch, fevers, and drainage from the wound or tooth. Infection can spread to other parts of the body, including the lungs and heart, so it’s critical to treat it urgently.

Oral Cancer

Oral cancer is the sixth-most common type of cancer, with more than 30,000 new cases being reported each year. When you visit a dentist twice a year, we can look for signs of this disease. Most cases appear as red and white lesions on the floor of your mouth, palate, lip or the tongue. Risk factors that increase the chances of oral cancer include heavy alcohol use, smoking, and exposure to HPV (the human papillomavirus), which also causes cervical cancer. We perform an oral cancer screening at each check up.

HIV

Some oral conditions may indicate that a patient is suffering from HIV. In children, patients might have salivary gland swelling, which can result in a dry mouth. Children infected with HIV are often more prone to oral lesions and viruses. Adults with HIV might exhibit signs like oral warts, lesions, white, red, purple, or brown spots on the tongue or in the mouth, and other infections.

According to some studies severe gum problems occur in up to 5 percent of HIV-positive adult patients.

These symptoms alone don’t necessarily mean that you have HIV, although a these signs might lead us to recommend seeing your doctor for a blood test. Anyone engaging in risky behaviours should be tested for HIV regularly.

Stress

When you are stressed, your body may respond in ways that affect your mouth. One of the most common physical manifestations of stress is grinding your teeth. You might grind them when you’re feeling stressed, or commonly it happens when you’re asleep.

Grinding your teeth can do serious damage, so we often make night guards to protect against this. It’s also worth considering ways to reduce your stress levels.

Poor Nutrition

Patients suffering from eating disorders or getting poor nutrition also show signs in their mouths. Most people who suffer from bulimia will do everything they can to hide it from others, but it’s hard to hide it from your dentist. We look for signs such as dry mouth, bleeding gums, and erosion on the insides of the front teeth. Stomach acid is erosive to the enamel that covers your teeth, so forced vomiting can wear away that protective enamel and cause increased sensitivity. Morning sickness during pregnancy or acid reflux can cause similar problems.

Osteoporosis

Osteoporosis is especially common in post-menopausal women, although this weakening of the bones can happen to anyone. We look for signs like loose teeth or receding gum line, which can indicate changes in the bone that supports your teeth. These signs, especially in a patient at higher risk for osteoporosis, will often lead us to refer you back to your doctor for a bone density test.

Keeping up with regular dental appointments has a number of advantages. We can watch for changes in your mouth, some of which can indicate more serious problems. Catching problems early enables you to have treatment earlier and leads to a more successful outcome.

www.swords-denral.ie