The amount of time between appointments for visiting the hygienist is specific to each individual patient.
Your hygienist will assess the needs of each patient, their risk of disease and if further treatment or monitoring is required.
In a healthy mouth with a low risk of developing gum conditions, a patient may visit the hygienist every six months or yearly.
What does a healthy mouth look like?
Healthy gums will appear pink, firm with little or no bleeding. If you have a good oral health routine at home, including a good brushing technique and flossing/cleaning interdentally daily to remove plaque and minimise tartar build up, you will need less visits to the hygienist for scaling and polishing.
During your visit to the hygienist, they will do routine gum inspections and cleaning as required. As hygienists, we also look at risk factors such as medications and conditions in general health as these factors can affect your risk of developing gum disease unless well controlled.
When do you need more frequent hygienist visits?
Hygienists will want to see you more frequently, for example every three to six months, if there are signs of gum disease.
This is so that we can give you advice on cleaning techniques and remove any tartar build up that may develop faster or in larger quantities if not quite removing plaque efficiently at home.
Smoking increases the risk of gum disease so we can provide help and advice on quitting.
We will monitor the progression of your gum disease at these appointments. If home care and your gum health improve then we may be able to lengthen the time between appointments again.
Established gum disease will need monitoring and treating more frequently and patients usually need to see the hygienist every three months.
This allows us to monitor the progression of gum disease attentively and provide further treatment and advice if required. On the flip side, it can allow us to monitor any improvements and keep gum health stable.
Laura is a dental hygiene therapist at Thackeray Dental Care in Mansfield. She was a dental nurse for 11 years before returning to study and qualify as a hygienist and therapist. Her role includes giving advice to help patients maintain a healthy mouth and smile.