What Does a Dental Hygienist Do?
Before you pursue the field it’s important for you to understand exactly what a dental hygienist does each and every day. Contrary to popular belief, a dental hygienist does much more than cleaning teeth. They perform a wide range of services including taking dental x-rays, collecting information about a patient’s medical health history, teaching patient’s about proper oral hygiene, and making molds. Also, in some states the responsibilities expand to include laboratory diagnostic testing and assisting with fillings. However, in addition to these duties is the one they’re most known for and that’s the cleaning of teeth. A dental hygienist examines teeth and gums and removes calculus, stain and plague from all surfaces by using a process known as “scaling.” Also, the hygienist will examine other parts of the upper body to identity any potential health problems such as cancer, etc. When they’re done with “scaling” and removing calculus, they apply materials such as fluoride to prevent fu
Along with the dentist, the dental hygienist is a healthcare professional that is able to offer services after obtaining the proper licensing or credentials from the appropriate jurisdiction. In most cases, dental hygienists will work as part of a team located at a dentist’s office, performing certain tasks that involve direct patient care. Here are some examples of the types of duties that may be performed by a licensed dental hygienist. It is important to note that a dental hygienist has to obtain formal training and education before it is possible to be licensed. Generally, most jurisdictions require at least a two year degree on dental hygiene, as well as a number of science related courses as part of the program. Generally, a hygienist will have taken courses that provide background in oral anatomy, pharmacology, nutrition, and periodontology. Advanced education, involving four to six years of study, is growing in popularity. With advanced training, the dental hygienist is able to
The dental hygienist job description is rather complex given that a dental hygienist’s duty aligns with pre-procedure care, in-office treatment of patients and post-procedure care. During an appointment, a hygienist may remove soft and hard deposits from teeth, examine gums and teeth to note diseases or abnormalities and rid the teeth of calculus (or tartar), stains and plaque. A dental hygienist may also perform root planing as periodontal therapy, take x-rays and apply cavity-deterring agents such as fluoride and sealants. In some cases and in some states, hygienists are allowed to administer anesthetics and perform other duties typically assigned to a dentist such as filling application, periodontal dressing, suture removal and polishing metal restorations. While dental hygienists do not diagnose oral disease, one important dental hygienist duty is to prepare clinical and laboratory diagnostic tests for the dentist to later interpret. A dental hygienist has a pedagogic role as well-
The dental hygienist job description is indeed quite complex given that any dental hygienist’s duty falls into various spheres including pre-procedure care, in-office treatment of dental patients and post-procedure care. During a dental appointment, a hygienist typically removes soft and hard deposits from a patient’s teeth; examines the gums and teeth to discern the presence of disease or oral abnormality; and strips the teeth of calculus (tartar), stains and plaque. A dental hygienist often performs as well root planing (a type of periodontal therapy), takes x-rays and applies cavity-deterring agents (fluoride or sealants). In some regions of the US, in certain instances hygienists are permitted to administer anesthetics and perform other tasks generally attributed to a dentist, duties such as filling application, periodontal dressing, suture removal and metal restoration polishing.