The Hygienist

What is a Dental Hygienist?

A dental hygienists’s main concerned is with ‘prevention’ individually tailoring treatment options to keep your dental health at its optimum. This is achieved by professionally cleaning your teeth by removing plaque, bacteria and tartar (usually called a prophylaxis). However, perhaps their most important role is showing you the best way to keep your teeth free of plaque. Plaque is a sticky coating that forms constantly on your teeth. Hygienists also give advice about diet and about preventing tooth decay..

What activities does the Dental Hygienist perform?

Examples of work done by the Dental Hygienist are:

  • Intake interview and full mouth examination to know if it’s necessary to take X-rays and/or dental imprints
  • Check for tooth decay, gum disease and the effect of diet on teeth
  • Dental Care Information
  • Dental cleaning to remove plaque bacteria, tartar and (smokers') deposits 
  • Preventive treatments with protective agents such as fluoride to protect teeth
  • Apply 'Lacquer layer' on (newly broken erupted) teeth and/or molars. We also call this fissure sealing.
  • Polishing of fillings

In addition, the BIG Act permits the oral hygienist, if competent and authorised, may give anaesthesia by order of the dentist. The dental hygienist can also fill small cavities in the teeth. 

When is a visit to the Dental Hygienist advisable?

  • If your gums bleed while brushing
  • If your teeth become loose
  • If your gums are red and swollen
  • When your gums no longer close tightly around your teeth
  • If your gums recede
  • If you regularly suffer from cavities
  • If you often have tartar or deposits on your teeth. You can recognize this by discoloration and/or stains on your teeth.
  • If you experience a foul taste or bad breath
  • If oral care is a problem for any reason

What about the reimbursement of the costs of the Dental Hygienist?

The costs of treatment with an oral hygienist fall into not under the basic insurance. If you have taken out supplementary insurance for the dentist, your healthcare insurer will usually reimburse the costs for the oral hygienist. We advise you to check this with your health insurer to be sure. This way you will not be faced with any surprises. The costs of the dental hygienist for children under the age of 18 are covered by the basic insurance. The health insurer will reimburse them. No supplementary insurance is required for children. 

What do inflamed gums look like?

Healthy gums are pale pink in colour. They should be tight around the teeth and no bleeding When gums are inflamed, they are red. They can also be sensitive and a little swollen. Sometimes they bleeds when you brush your teeth or when you touch them.
Inflamed gums are also called gingivitis. The cause of gingivitis is built-up plaque. This is a layer of bacteria. Tooth plaque adheres to the tooth. If it stays in place for a long time, it eventually becomes tartar. The dental hygienist can remove this layer. In addition, we will guide you to remedy bleeding gums in the future by giving practical advice. 

How do I prevent inflamed gums?

You can prevent inflamed gums by brushing well and by using a toothpick, Floss or small brushes used to removed food debris or bacteria from in between the teeth, for example. However, brushing well is not easy. It is important to use the right brushing technique. A dental hygienist can help by instructing you how to brush. Furthermore, the dental hygienist can assist you by professionally cleaning your teeth. This treatment removes plaque and tartar.

What is a periodontal inflammation?

A jawbone periodontal inflammation is also called periodontitis. This is an inflammation in the foundation bone surrounding your teeth. There are many causes. The main being too much bacteria under the gums, wrong / bad oral hygiene, hereditary stress, smoking, stress and/or general health. Because of the inflammation, bone is lost. This causes the gums to retract. Teeth and molars become loose and can be lost. 

What do I notice?

The problem with Periodontal inflammation is generally not accompanied by pain so can go undetected for a long time. However, the symptoms can be annoying like bleeding gums and bad breath and hinder you in your daily activities. Treatment by a dental hygienist is necessary to stop this bone loss. 

What to expect in a periodontal appointment?

The dental hygienist measures the space between the tooth and gums. This gap is also called a pocket. In a healthy mouth it is shallow between 0-3mm. The dental hygienist notes all the results in a special chart to monitor the progress at other appointments. This is called a Periodontal charting. Next, the dental hygienist maps the condition of teeth and surrounding tissue. In this way, the dental hygienist determines further treatment needed. The treatment consists of: thoroughly cleaning above and under the gums, possibly under anesthesia. Afterwards you will receive an extensive instruction of the best home care for you to keep your mouth healthy for life.

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