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What is A Dental Hygienist?

December 12, 2011 | News | The Office of The Palisades Dentists

A dental hygienist can help you keep your teeth in pristine condition. This type of licensed dental professional is sometimes also referred to as an oral hygienist. The dental hygienist differs from other dental professionals because they focus on techniques that promote preventive care rather than treating problems when they form. Preventive care has proven to be extremely valuable when it comes to medical and dental care. After all, it is much better to stop a problem long before it has a chance to take root and become a serious issue.

There are a number of very common procedures that a dental hygienist can perform. Prophylaxis includes general teeth cleaning and fluoride therapy. Scaling and root planning is also offered and describes the process of deeply cleaning teeth by removing dental plaque under the gums and substances related to it

Going to the dental hygienist feels much like visiting any other dental care professional. Most follow a process that begins with an evaluation of the patient’s tooth condition and history with a minor dental exam. The hygienist will also begin documenting what they find as they work with the patient. Next, a diagnosis is made to determine any existing issues. The final steps include implementing the plan and evaluating the patient’s progress throughout treatment. Further evaluations can determine if a change needs to be made or if the treatment plan is working as it should.

A dental hygienist must complete a dental hygiene program with an associate degree, bachelors or master’s degree or a certificate awarded by a school accredited by the American Dental Association. Just like other dental professionals, the dental hygienist must be licensed to provide services by the state they are operating in as well. Even though they go by a different title, your oral hygienist still must have the knowledge and experience required to legally offer services.

The rules for a dental hygienist in the United States will vary from one state to the next. Most are required to work for a dentist. Some are also permitted to administer local anesthesia. Your dental hygienist can assist you in making better choices about how to care for your teeth. These professionals are well trained so you receive proper care, even if your regular dentist isn’t handle every procedure you have done to your teeth. If you have questions about a dental hygienist, ask your dentist to find out if they employ this type of professional and what services they will administer when you visit.