Ask The Dentist: 'What Does A Dental Hygienist Do?'
Dental hygienists are licensed oral health professionals who focus on preventing and treating oral diseases-both to protect teeth and gums, and also to protect patients' total health. They are graduates of accredited dental hygiene education programs in colleges and universities, and must take a written national board examination and a clinical examination before they are licensed to practice. In addition to treating patients directly, dental hygienists may also work as educators, researchers, and administrators.
What Do Dental Hygienists Do? Each state has its own specific regulations and the range of services performed by dental hygienists varies from one state to another. As part of dental hygiene services, dental hygienists may:
- perform oral health care assessments that include the review of patients' health history, dental charting, oral cancer screening, and evaluation of gum disease / health;
- expose, process, and interpret dental radiographs (x-rays);
- remove plaque and calculus (“tartar”) from above and below the gumline using dental instruments;
- treat gum disease;
- use lasers;
- apply cavity-preventive agents such as fluorides and sealants to the teeth;
- administer local anesthetic and / or nitrous oxide analgesia;
- educate patients on proper oral hygiene techniques to maintain healthy teeth and gums;
- counsel patients about plaque control and developing individualized at-home oral hygiene programs;
- oral cancer screen;
- administer smoking cessation programs;
- and counsel patients on the importance of good nutrition for maintaining optimal oral health.
Nicole, Jamie and Cindy
Your dental hygiene team at River Street Dental are celebrating DENTAL HYGIENE MONTH! They would like to invite you to participate in our "Where Do You Floss?" drawings. You could win a "Just Do It" T-shirt!