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Dental hygienists

1st August 2021

Following my blog last month regarding Good Oral Health, I have had lots of interest in and requests for information about Dental hygienists and the service they provide within our practices.

Dental hygienists primarily deal with preventive dental health and treating gum disease and treatment by them will greatly improve the appearance of your teeth and your oral health. They  show you correct home care help you to keep your teeth and gums healthy. This includes them professionally cleaning your teeth by removing plaque that brushing cannot remove (usually called a ‘scale and polish’). Polishing will also remove any superficial stains on your teeth. Scaling and polishing is usually pain-free and the hygienist will do everything they can to make the treatment as comfortable as possible. In some cases the hygienist can will use a local anaesthetic to alleviate any pain.

A visit to the hygienist is more than a clean and polish though. Your gums reveal a lot about your general health too, such as eating disorders, high blood pressure, diabetes, anaemia and oral cancer.  Hygienists will check the condition of dental appliances, such as permanent retainers, braces, bridges, implants, and crowns. They will also examine and look for Bruxism (the grinding of teeth), Caries (cavities), Gingivitis (gum inflammation), Gum recession, Halitosis (bad breath), Impacted teeth, Mouth sores, including cankers, cold sores, and oral thrush and other tooth or gum abnormalities, including cracks, discoloration, pain, and sensitivity. They will advise you on what is discovered and make any appropriate suggestions for an appointment with a Dental colleague, a visit to your GP or a referral to other healthcare professionals if necessary.

Dental hygienists can also take  dental x-rays, place fissure sealants, apply fluoride varnishes and carry out tooth whitening treatments under a prescription from your Orthodontist or dentist.

Some dentists will carry out some hygiene work themselves, but in my opinion hygienists have been specially trained (minimum of a 2 year higher education diploma) and are best placed to carry out this work and they can spend longer with you.

As I said last month,All our practices have Dental Hygienists, each appointment should take about 30 mins, cost £50-£70 and should be every 3 months during your Orthodontic treatment and 6 monthly after competition of the treatment. In fact many of our patients are so pleased with appearance and feel of their teeth after a hygiene visit that they will visit every three months.”

I’m sure you won’t be disappointed so call the practice, book now and see what I mean.

And Keep smiling


NB At the this time of writing Dental Practices are still subject to Government restrictions regarding Covid and this may limit the treatments some Hygienists can offer.

Dr Shirley Cox

BDS(Hons), FDS RCS (Eng), MSc(Lond), M Orth RCS(Eng), FDS Orth RCS (Eng)
GDC: 68425

Shirley qualified in Dentistry from The Royal London Hospital in 1992, achieved her M Orth specialist qualification in orthodontics and registered on the specialist list in Orthodontics in 2000. Shirley was appointed as Consultant Orthodontist at Barts Dental Hospital in 2004 and now works as an Orthodontic Consultant at the new Royal London Hospital site.

As a Consultant Orthodontist with over 20 years training Dentists and Orthodontists and her additional training in children’s dentistry Shirley is equipped with the skills to provide the very highest standards of patient care. Having orthodontic treatment with her means that you will be in the best possible hands.

Shirley is able to offer the very latest treatments available, enabling her to treat adult and child patients who have simple, moderate and complex needs and to improve both the appearance and the function of their teeth.

Being an Invisalign Platinum provider, Invisalign Teen accredited and member of the Invisalign London Specialist Orthodontist group put Shirley in a unique position to offer Invisalign treatment for a very wide range of cases.

“Patients in my care receive my personal attention at all times and are treated solely by me. I love to treat patients and help them achieve and keep for life the beautiful, healthier and happier smiles they desire. I look forward to meeting you and helping however I can.”

Outside of orthodontics Shirley lives locally with her husband and two teenage children. For many years Shirley has been a Local School Governor and organises a local book club. Shirley enjoys active holidays whether its walking in Norfolk, skiing in the Alps or exploring further afield with her family.

Shirley Cox

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