Three levels of hygiene treatment explained

1st September 2021 | Posted by: Vanessa Giraud

We would like to let our patients know that we have updated and clarified our categories of oral hygiene treatments. We aim to deliver effective gum care and dental health management, according to your needs, in line with the ongoing coronavirus restrictions.

dental checks for twenties teeth man in dental chair

What are the the three levels of hygiene treatment?

As explained in a previous post about why hygienists recommend hand scaling these days, ultrasonic cleaning and polishing causes an aerosol effect, which can transmit the virus causing Covid-19.8

After the initial coronavirus lockdown in 2020, dental surgeries introduced stricter cross-infection protocols to reduce the chance of viral transmission. Even though our waiting rooms are open again, although with some restrictions, the same rigorous procedures are still in place in the clinics. We must plan, therefore, as though it will remain this way.

In the past we categorised our hygiene treatments as either routine or extensive hygiene. Now we are including an additional entry level category of simple hygiene care to cover the use of hand tools only. As the coronavirus is still with us, we are offering the sole use of hand tools, when appropriate, for simple oral health appointments that do not create an aerosol effect. Moreover, we also offer two levels of hygiene appointments for patients who need or prefer treatment with an ultrasonic scaler.

This means patients will be booked into a hygiene appointment categorised as either Simple, Routine or Extensive.

1. What happens in a Simple Hygiene appointment?

A hygiene appointment that is categorised as ‘simple’ helps to prevent the build up of plaque along the gum line, keeping your teeth and gums healthy. This treatment is particularly good for people who attend regularly and follow a good oral care routine at home so the build up of plaque is easily dealt with using hand tools.

Simple hygiene effectively uses hand instruments to scale and polish. This means that an aerosol effect is not generated, so it’s the most cost-effective hygiene treatment you can have.

A hygienist or dentist may recommend booking a different level of hygiene treatment (either routine or extensive) at a subsequent appointment if it would benefit your oral health.

2. What happens in a Routine Hygiene appointment?

A routine hygiene appointment uses an ultrasonic handpiece as well as hand instruments for scaling and polishing. It is, therefore, an aerosol generating procedure (AGP). The clinician must wear enhanced PPE, and the surgery schedule includes a longer cleaning period.

Some patients opt for a routine hygiene appointment for the feel and finish of an ultrasonic scaler.

3. What happens in an Extensive Hygiene appointment?

Extensive hygiene appointments are usually for new patients who have not regularly visited a dentist. The dental hygienist will use hand scaling, ultrasonic scaling and polishing to begin restoring gum health and address calculus build-up. Also, for patients who need a local anaesthetic, an extensive hygiene appointment is booked.

Extensive hygiene is an AGP and therefore requires enhanced cross-infection protocols to protect staff and other patients.

Patients also ask:

What is periodontitis?

Gum health is very important. Periodontitis may lead to tooth loss, and can also impact on our general health.

What is Direct Access?

Direct access to hygiene is open to private patients who want to have their teeth professionally cleaned without having to make a dental appointment first. It saves you time and money. They are a great way of enhancing your home oral hygiene routine. Moreover, if your clinician notices a problem a dentist should check, they will advise you.

Which hygiene appointment?

The least costly treatment, is a Simple Hygiene appointment, as it does not include an AGP. If you are unsure which appointment suits your needs, one of our experienced team members will be able to help when you make an appointment. 

As our phone lines are often busy, we recommend you get in touch using our Contact Us form. We look forward to hearing from you.

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