Why You Should Appreciate Your Dental Hygienist

When going to the dentist office, one person people seem to forget about is the dental hygienist. Most dental practices have a dental hygienist to assist the dentist. These highly trained individuals are essential to the dental office and public health, as hygienists perform most of the x-ray's, clean teeth, and instruct the public.

What type of training does a hygienist receive?

Hygienists generally undergo two years of specialized training and receive an Associate's Degree. Many community colleges, technical schools, and dental schools offer a hygienist program. Following the program, hygienists have to become certified both nationally and in the state they wish to work in. Hygienists are not allowed, however, to have their own dental practice, and must work under the direction of a dentist. The hygienist will need to work with a variety of mouths and patient temperaments including children, teenagers, adults, and seniors.

What work does the hygienist do at a dental office?

The hygienist performs many of the preventative work to help patient mouths stay healthy. Hygienists help patients learn the importance of brushing and flossing, and they spend time with the patients to make sure the patients know how to complete those important tasks.

A hygienist will need to have good personal skills to work with not only the patients, but the dentist as well. The hygienist generally performs a detailed cleaning and inspection of the mouth. The hygienist will polish and clean each tooth, checking for cracks, cavities, and oral disease as they move from tooth to tooth.

The hygienist will also carefully floss to make sure that the gums are healthy and the mouth is clean. The hygienist will communicate clearly with the patient and dentist areas of concern in a patient's mouth. In addition, a hygienist will generally place sealants on molar teeth, or assist with a fluoride mouthwash or varnish to protect a patient's teeth.

Where else are dental hygienists employed?

In addition to working in a dental clinic, many hygienists work for a county health department. In this capacity, they work closely with youth and children to teach them about the importance of oral health and how to properly care for their mouth. Nursing homes also employ dental hygienists to assist residents with basic oral health and treatment, and then can refer to a dentist if needed.

Why are dental hygienists important?

Dental hygienists are very important to the maintenance of oral health, but are mostly forgotten when thinking about dental treatments. Remember to thank a dental hygienist for the care and treatment they provide. (for more information, contact Pike Lake Dental Center)