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Hygienists vs Dentists - What’s The Difference

If you have been to see us recently, and your dentist in Cheam has recommended that you need to see the hygienist, you might be thinking… “why? Not another expense!” And both of these would be perfectly reasonable reactions. We at Cheam Village Dental Studios fully understand that right now, times are super, super tough, and every single one of us needs to tighten our purse strings because of it. And, of course, hearing that you need another appointment for cleaning can be slightly annoying, BUT hygienists are heroes, and they achieve results that dentists can’t and here is why.

What is a dentist


A dentist is someone qualified to treat teeth for a whole heap of issues such as disease, decay and orthodontic work. They attend university for at least five years and then spend another two years under supervision before becoming qualified.


What Is A Hygienist


A dental hygienist is different from a dentist; they purely attend to the gums and their health. Hygienists perform deep cleans, also known as scale-and-polishes, and work with patients to understand exactly where the holes are in their oral health and improve their oral hygiene. A dental hygienist typically needs to undergo a 2-3 year degree in dental hygiene or oral science.


Why Can’t The Dentist in Cheam Just Do The Cleaning?


This is an excellent question and one that many people ask. First of all, it is worth knowing that gum disease is one of the biggest problems that dentists face. Over half the UK population has some form of gum disease at any one time, so curing it is not a menial task.


When looking at why your dentist can’t do it, it is because a scale-and-polish (which is the process required to clear the gums of disease) takes time, skill and certain tools. Even if your dentist were to perform the scale-and-polish, they would have to give you a new appointment at the same cost. And with most people needing to see a hygienist, it would mean lots of people would never be able to get booked to see the dentist for other reasons.


Gum Disease


While we are on the topic, it is always good to have a little reminder of what gum disease is and the risk factors involved. Gum disease occurs when plaque and tartar are left to build up along the gum line, causing serious problems for the health of our gums. The acid given off begins to affect the gums, causing a reaction, which is why the gums get inflamed and bleed a lot - not ideal.


Gum disease is completely avoidable, and actually, so is the hygienist, but only if you are taking excellent care of your oral hygiene by brushing your teeth twice a day and flossing daily!


We hope this was helpful and cleared up the roles of both your dentist in Cheam and your hygienist. If you have any more questions, do not hesitate to get in contact with our team.

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