dental hygienist with patient at backwell dental care


Periodontal disease or gum disease is the primary cause of tooth loss in the adult population worldwide and 95% of the population have some level of this condition. Its treatment and control is the single most important factor underpinning all aspects of dentistry.

What is periodontal disease?

Periodontal disease affects the soft and hard tissues surrounding the teeth. It is caused by excessive bacteria building up in the mouth. Bacteria and their by products are called plaque and if allowed to remain for too long, the minerals in saliva cause it to harden causing a scale called calculus or tartar. Plaque and calculus cause periodontal disease. In the early stages gums appear red, spongy and swollen, possibly being tender. Allowed to progress the disease causes destruction of the underlying bone, recession of the gums, loosening and ultimately loss of the tooth.

Frequently Asked Questions

A dental hygienist is a licensed oral health professional who specializes in preventive dental care. They clean teeth, provide education on proper oral hygiene, and assist in the detection of oral health issues.

It is generally recommended to visit a dental hygienist every six months for a routine cleaning and oral health checkup. However, the frequency may vary based on individual oral health needs.

While cleaning teeth is a significant part of their role, dental hygienists also educate patients on proper oral care, take X-rays, apply fluoride treatments, and assist in the detection of dental issues.

Dental hygienists can provide advice on maintaining white teeth through proper oral hygiene practices. However, teeth whitening procedures are typically performed by dentists.

Dental hygienists can identify signs of oral health issues, but they cannot make official diagnoses. They work closely with dentists, who are responsible for diagnosing and treating dental problems.

Yes, dental hygienists play a crucial role in treating gum disease. They perform deep cleanings, known as scaling and root planing, to remove plaque and tartar from below the gumline and provide guidance on maintaining gum health.

Periodontal therapy

at the Backwell Dental Care our Hygienists and Oral Health Educators work together under the supervision of your Dentist to halt, stabilize and even reverse the effects of periodonal disease. Each patient undergoes an individualized course of therapy that involves thorough removal of the plaque/calculus and just as importantly, instruction in oral hygiene techniques.

Treatment of the disease must take into account all factors. These include the patient’s familial history, medical history, lifestyle and the effects of stress. In addition dental factors such as poor margins of restorations must be corrected. Therapy may, in addition to mechanical removal of plaque/calculus, involve use of topical antibiotics and antiseptic agents. In certain circumstances surgical intervention is requried to make the area more amenable to hygiene techniques.

Prevention is best

The most effective way to combat periodontal disease is to prevent it. Our Practice aim is to prevent disease so a regular maintenance programme both at home and with the dental hygienist is encouraged. Periodontal disease is of a cyclical, unpredictable nature such that regular preventive treatment is essential.

dental hygienist with patient at backwell dental care