What Does a Dental Hygienist Do?
Besides the dentist, the dental hygienist may be the most important person you or your child will encounter during a visit to the dental office. Dental hygienists have an important role when it comes to the dental services you and your child receive and are instrumental in helping to ensure that patients have good oral health. Here is some important information to know about dental hygienists before your next dental visit.
What is a Dental Hygienist?
Like dentists, dental hygienists are licensed oral health care professionals and are trained to provide services that can help protect your oral and total health. They are also able to perform different services that can prevent and treat oral diseases. Dental hygienists are typically the part of the dental team that will treat you first. They assist the dentist by performing the necessary services that can allow the dentist to concentrate on the more complicated and specialized procedures.
What Services Can You Receive from a Dental Hygienist?
The exact services you will receive from a dental hygienist will depend on the state in which you reside. This is because every state has its own guidelines about the services a hygienist is authorized to perform. A majority of states require that dental hygienists practice under some degree of supervision of dentists. Some of the primary duties of the dental hygienist are the proper cleaning of a patient’s teeth and to make sure that there are no conditions that can negatively affect the patient’s oral health. Depending on the hygienist’s education, training and license, typical services can include:
- Review of a patient’s dental history
- Office management tasks
- Educating patients about their oral health
- Examination of the condition of the teeth, gums and mouth
- Administering nitrous oxide analgesia or local anesthetics
- Administering many forms of nonsurgical periodontal therapies or maintenance
- Providing teeth cleanings for removing stains, plaque and tartar
- Performing, developing and reading x-rays
Routine Dental Visits
During a routine dental visit, the dental hygienist will examine your mouth to determine the amount of plaque and tartar that is present and will assess your tooth enamel. If necessary, the hygienist will thoroughly scale the teeth to remove the plaque and tartar so that the substances do not contribute to tooth decay. A teeth polishing and smoothing may be next to help remove stains as well as make brushing more effective at removing bacteria. If there are any conditions that are cause for concern, such as the early indications of cavities or tooth decay, the dental hygienist may alert the dentist for more specialized treatment.
At Wright Smiles Pediatric Dentistry, our staff is dedicated to providing your child with the dental care they need to have a bright smile and optimal oral health. Contact us today to schedule your child's appointment.