We’ve only recently stepped out of a two-year long social hiatus – the result of a global pandemic which had widespread, damaging effects.
Daily life was governed by restrictions such as mask mandates and social distancing, affecting not only the way we lived and provided for our families, but also the way we took care of ourselves.
Now that these restrictions have been lifted, people are once again paying more attention to their appearance: looking to fashion experts, social influencers and celebrities for the best looks, and working on creating their ideal smile.
To achieve the perfect smile, dentists carefully plan high quality restorative work, and hygienists do their part in the removal of dental stains and tooth whitening. Seeing the “before and after” of their smile transformation boosts confidence and encourages our patients to show off their smiles.
In this blog, Andrea Bothma, Oral Hygienist at Enamel Clinic, takes us through the relationship between oral and systemic health, and the importance of adopting preventative measures within daily healthcare routines.
The Role of Dental Professionals
We’ve known for several years that there is a link between periodontal disease and other systemic diseases. And recently, an increasing amount of evidence shows just how beneficial it is for us to have dental professionals provide us with a preventative program.
Oral health practitioners realise that there is a responsibility to not only give our patients the best smile, but to consider how we can contribute to preventing illness. We refer especially to pulmonary infections, cardiovascular disease, diabetes and other systemic complications.
Understanding your Oral Hygiene
Similarly, patients shouldn’t view the purpose of oral hygiene as only a way to improve our smile or to prevent bad breath – as important as these objectives may be. They are also an effective way to eliminate these very harmful pathogens in our oral cavity, which have the potential to do bodily harm.
What every patient needs to remember:
- There is more than one way to maintain your oral health. The products we use should be recommended based on genetic factors, habits, age and medication.
- Dentists do a thorough check up, using a range of techniques and equipment, and measure the attachment around the tooth to diagnose possible gingivitis or periodontitis.
- Following the diagnosis, a suitable treatment plan is set. The dentist and hygienist work together to provide you with the best care in taking care of your teeth and the soft tissue that supports your teeth and implants. The hygienist guides you in improving and maintaining this customised oral hygiene regime.
- During your first visit with the hygienist, you will be informed of any underlying gum infections or early dental caries. In some cases where patients have not been seen over an extended period – or where deep seated, old build up is picked up on x-rays – the patient might be asked to attend another oral hygiene appointment to allow the symptoms of the infection to subside. The hygienists are trained and qualified to administer local anaesthetic in areas that are sensitive or tender. During the second appointment, she can complete the cleaning and reassure the patient on their oral hygiene effort.
- The recommended check-up intervals for a dentist are 6 monthly. However, if you show signs of gum disease, you would be seen by your Oral Hygienist every three months, as the body responds irreversibly to plaque by losing more bone. You will also need guidance on maintaining a strict home care regime between visits.
Now that we can smile face to face again, don’t just make it a beautiful one, but keep it healthy too.