Call us now
02 9953 1124
Book Now
02 9953 1124
Ben Wilcox
Ben is the practice principal at Shore Dental, Sydney. He graduated with a Bachelor of Dental Surgery in 2004 and…

Revealed: 50% Of Your Plaque May Still Remain After Your Annual Dental ‘Check-up & Clean’

April 13, 2018 by Ben Wilcox

Revealed: 50% Of Your Plaque May Still Remain After Your Annual Dental ‘Check-up & Clean’

Living in Sydney, you’ve no doubt seen those beautiful multi-million dollar boats floating in the bay?

They may look sparkling white, yet under the surface… they’re often covered in ugly, dirty barnacles.

And if those barnacles aren’t regularly removed, they can cause serious damage to those beautiful boats.


The same is true of your teeth.

They may look clean on the outside. But below the gumline, you may be harbouring nasty bacteria. If left untreated, that bacteria causes inflammation. That inflammation can lead to swollen and painful gums. And in some cases, it even eats away at your jaw bone.

It’s what we call periodontal disease. For simplicity’s sake, I’ll refer to it as gum disease throughout this article.

The worst part?

A traditional dental ‘check-up and clean’ has been shown to leave as much as 50% of plaque on your teeth after treatment.

This is particularly dangerous because you think you’re doing all the right things.

If you’re seeing your dentist every 6 to 12 months for regular cleaning, it’s easy to assume your teeth are healthy. But the truth is that gum disease can be a symptomless condition.

By the time you’re experiencing pain, or other major problems, you may have irreversible damage.

So, before I provide you with a list of symptoms that can indicate gum health issues… please remember that your teeth may look and feel healthy, yet still be harbouring dangerous bacteria.

Potential Symptoms Of Gum Disease:

Potential Symptoms Of Gum Disease

  • Bleeding gums
  • Itchy gums
  • Food catching in your teeth
  • Bad breath
  • Receding gums… making you look ‘long in the tooth’
  • Loose or wobbly teeth

Why Do Traditional Cleaning Methods Leave So Much Plaque Behind?

Why Do Traditional Cleaning Methods Leave So Much Plaque Behind?

The main reason is simply the time allocated to a typical dental check-up and clean.

Many dentists may only spend 30 minutes total assessing and cleaning your teeth. And it simply isn’t possible to thoroughly clean all the buildup of plaque from your teeth in such a short window of time.

That’s why seeing a dental hygienist for a thorough gum disease assessment and clean is so important.

At Shore Dental, our hygienists spend an hour with you during your initial consultation. This gives them plenty of time to accurately assess and chart your gum health and perform an initial clean and polish.

What Makes Hygienists Different From Dentists?

What Makes Hygienists Different From Dentists?

Dentists are trained in restorative procedures like fillings, veneers, dentures and implants… just to name a few. However, dental hygienists are trained in the treatment and prevention of gum disease.

Dental hygienists focus on getting your mouth healthy, and keeping it healthy. This includes educational tools such as disclosing.

What is disclosing?

It’s a special little tablet that you chew on for a minute. It stains your teeth different shades of pink and red. And this shows the accumulation of bacteria on your teeth.

This is just one of the many tools our hygienists use to help you see where bacteria is being harboured in your teeth. They’re also passionate about helping you understand how best to keep your mouth healthy and disease free.

It’s Like A ‘Service And Oil Check’ For Your Teeth

This is a helpful analogy I like to share with patients:

Think of your car.

If you maintain your car well, regularly servicing it and changing the oil, then you won’t breakdown in the harbour tunnel. But if you don’t check it regularly, you massively increase the chances of breaking down at the worst possible times.

It’s the same with your teeth.

If you look after them well, and regularly visit the hygienist to maintain your gum health, you’re far less likely to experience irreversible damage (and even tooth loss) from entirely preventable oral health issues.

So What Actually Happens At A Hygiene Appointment?

So What Actually Happens At A Hygiene Appointment?

Your first dental hygiene appointment is one hour long. Your hygienist will spend time reviewing your medical history and performing what’s called a perio-chart.

A perio-chart includes measuring the depth of any ‘pockets’ between your gums and your teeth, as well as assessing your gums for issues such as bleeding and itching.

The assessment is thorough.

It includes x-rays to see where the bone is in relation to your teeth, which can reveal underlying issues hidden below the gumline.

And DSLR images help us visually track your progress over time, which is both encouraging and educational.

Before you leave, your hygienist will perform a gentle dental clean. This removes stains from your teeth, and will help your teeth look and feel cleaner.

There’s No Blueprint

Your gum disease treatment plan will be completely customised. It’s a bespoke plan, tailored to solve the exact issues you’re facing. Your hygienist will outline the recommended treatment plan, making sure you understand all your options.

Don’t Wait Until It’s Too Late


Gum disease can be a symptomless problem. And even if you’ve had regular dental check-ups and cleans, you may still be harbouring as much as 50% of hidden plaque in places such as in between and behind your teeth, and in any loose ‘pockets’ in your gum line.

So don’t wait.

Book your oral hygiene appointment today at Shore Dental.

Simply call 02 9953 1124