“What is a Dental Hygienist?”
When you visit your dentist’s office for a regular checkup, the most likely dental professional you’ll talk to is a dental hygienist.
Dental hygienists are licensed, primary care, preventive oral health professionals who have successfully completed an accredited dental hygiene program. Their training allows them to provide services in a wide range of environments, including administration, research, clinic, education, and therapy.
Whatever area they venture, they must continue education courses to renew their license. So, when you visit a dental hygienist, you can be assured that you are in the hands of a professional who’s current with the latest regulations, technology, and techniques in the delivery of patient care.
“What does a Dental Hygienist specifically do?”
Dental hygienists provide care as directed by State practice acts. That said, most hygienists can administer the following services without requiring the presence of a dentist:
● Professional dental cleaning
● Periodontal scaling and root planing
● Local anesthetic / nitrous oxide administration
● Supportive restorative services such as placing and removing temporary fillings
● Placing sealants
● Fluoride treatments
● Examining the teeth and mouth for signs of disease
● Educating patients on proper oral hygiene
● Taking x-rays
● Keeping track of your dental plan
In addition to these services, dental hygienists play a vital role in the community, advising patients on good diet and proper home dental care habits, and performing other duties that promote the dental wellness of the society. For instance, dental hygienists:
1. Perform community outreach – Provide screening and dental health education in community settings with the view to getting more patients to join the oral health care system.
2. Get patients to consult a dentist – Dental hygienists provide a point of entry into the delivery of dental care services, preparing patients for any necessary treatment by a dentist. In other words, they initiate dental care.
3. Collaborate with dental and medical professionals – Dental hygienists perform most dental checkups and oral examinations, during which they screen for early signs and symptoms of gum disease and other conditions. They explain their observations to patients, and recommend better health care practices or a visit to a dentist/doctor for a definitive diagnosis.
Dental hygienists allow dentists to focus on more larger procedures that require a deft hand and skill expertise. When combined together, they make for an excellent team in keeping your oral health in top notch shape!