Every October, we celebrate our hygienists with National Dental Hygiene Month. It is also time to celebrate the important work they do on a daily basis. We are so fortunate to have 5 wonderful hygienists that put our patients at ease and encourage them to work toward a healthier smile. They are always striving to better serve their patients and October is a perfect time to help us raise awareness about the importance of good oral health. We like to bring to light the importance of periodontal disease during National Dental Hygiene month to keep our patients aware.
Your hygienist is working hard to prevent and treat disease every single day. They are able to catch diseases such as gingivitis, which is a mild form of gum disease. Gingivitis isn’t healthy and presents with red, swollen and bleeding gums. It is caused by a buildup of plaque (which contains bacteria) on the teeth. The good news is… gingivitis IS reversible. With regular dental cleanings and good oral home care you can help your hygienist prevent gingivitis from progressing. If left untreated, it is inevitable that periodontal disease or periodontitis will advance. Over time, when plaque is left to accumulate, your body’s inflammatory response starts to do irreparable damage. The gums begin to form deeper pockets, becoming harder to clean and more buildup to gather 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 primary focus is to prevent and treat periodontal disease. Treatment for periodontal disease starts with gum therapy. We also refer to this type of cleaning 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. If your hygienist determines your gum disease is advanced to a point that a specialist (Periodontist) would best serve you, we will give you a referral and can even help schedule an appointment for you. Either Dr. Kang, Dr. Suzuki or Dr. Liu with Puget Sound Perio or Dr. Weinstein with Advanced Periodontics always make sure our patients are in great and capable hands.
It is imperative to keep up with good home care once the disease has been treated. Your hygienist will discuss the best tools for you based on your individual needs. They will also recommend a more frequent cleaning schedule. 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. Many people are unaware that the 6 month recall frequency is intended for those who only require basic or prophy cleanings. It is your hygienists goal to prevent periodontal disease at all of your visits.
I would like to conclude by thanking our amazing team of dental hygienists. Crystal, Megan, Mary, Ashley and Pak 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! 206-622-2999
Happy Dental Hygiene Month!
American Academy of Periodontology: https://www.perio.org/consumer/types-gum-disease.html#OverlayWrapper[flash]/0/