When we have problems with our teeth, we automatically start to fear visiting our dentist. But it might put your mind at ease understanding the roles of those at your local dentist’s office. In general, most dentistry practices include:
- Dental assistants
- Dental hygienists
In most cases, patients usually mistake dental hygienists for dentists. But what exactly is a dental hygienist?
What is a Dental Hygienist?
Usually, the first person that a patient interacts with once they pass through to the patient rooms is the dental hygienist. Their role is to work closely with your dentist to help you achieve and maintain good oral hygiene.
The Duties of a Dental Hygienist
To fulfill this role, the responsibilities of a dental hygienist include:
- Dental and health history. Assessing each patient’s dental and health history is crucial before determining any other procedures that you might need to get done. Based on this information, the dental hygienist and dentist can suggest a personalized dental treatment plan.
- Patient screening. They will evaluate each patient’s oral health conditions, report any concerns to the dentist, fill out a dental chart, and take vitals such as blood pressure and pulse.
- X-Rays. As part of your evaluation, they learned to take and develop x-rays of your mouth to determine the state of your teeth. X-rays allow them to see problems that might be developing to receive treatment before things get more severe, detect cavities, gum disease, oral infections, etc.
- Initial procedures. Before your dentist sees you, they will remove tartar, stains, and plaque from your teeth, polish them, and apply preventive materials when necessary.
- Education. After your overall assessment, their duties include educating the patient on good nutrition strategies and proper oral hygiene methods to maintain oral health in their specific case.
Dental hygienists play a vital role at your local dentist’s office, serving as a bridge between you and your dentist. Performing these duties will remove a considerable amount of work from the dentist, allowing them to perform the more advanced procedures on patients.
What Type of Education do Dental Hygienists Have?
Although the dentist has received the most training, dental hygienists also have to become licensed in their state to practice. Before taking the exam, a person has to enroll in a two-year (associate’s degree) or four-year (bachelor’s degree) program accredited by the Commission on Dental Accreditation.
Once someone passes the National Board Dental Hygiene Examination, they are officially a Registered Dental Hygienist (RDH). The higher the education level, the broader range of employment opportunities a dental hygienist will have.
Love Your Smile With Dental Of Clementon
At Dental of Clementon, our team of dentists and dental hygienists is committed to working together to bring you the finest dental care available. Located in Clementon, New Jersey, our dental services include:
- Cosmetic dentistry
- Oral surgery
- Teeth Whitening
Take the first step to your brand new smile and contact us today!