What Does A Hygienist Do?

A dental hygienist plays an important role in the care of our teeth. A licensed and degreed health professional, he or she works under the supervision of a dentist to provide preventative care and teach patients about oral hygiene. A hygienist also assists a dentist in the treatment of dental problems.

Cleaning Teeth

A hygienist cleans the patient’s teeth, removing plaque and stains. He or she cleans beneath the gum margins and also flosses the teeth.

Examination

While cleaning the teeth, a hygienist examines the teeth and gums for signs of problems, including tooth decay, receding gums, excessive bleeding of the gums, and any sores or lesions in the mouth. A hygienist also asks the patient about his or her oral hygiene habits and about any pain or discomfort or other symptoms.

Dental X-Rays

X-rays allow dentists to see problems between teeth and under fillings, where they would otherwise be unable to see. They allow dentists to identify problems early, before noticeable symptoms develop. A hygienist typically takes and develops x-rays for the dentist.

Patient Education

A hygienist plays an important role in the education of patients about oral hygiene. He or she teaches patients the proper way to brush and floss and explains the importance of doing so regularly. A hygienist also explains what the dentist is going to be doing so patients know what to expect.

Charting

A hygienist is responsible for noting any tooth decay or other problems in the patient’s chart, as well as detailing any treatment recommended by the dentist. Complete and accurate charting is important for continuity of care and is also needed if dental insurance is going to cover the cost of a patient’s care.

Equipment and Supplies

Stocking supplies, making sure the dentist has everything he or she needs to perform treatments, and cleaning and maintaining equipment are other tasks handled by a dental hygienist. Though this typically takes place “behind the scenes,” it’s critical for safe and effective patient care and infection control.

Dental hygienists are a vital part of our success. For more information or any questions, contact us!