When you walk into a dental office there are various people who are involved in your care and treatment other than the dentist. This is our third and final article in this series in which we hopefully have been giving you some insight into the duties and responsibilities of your dental health providers. In this article we learn about the complex and multifaceted duties of the dental hygienist. Dental hygienists have many important responsibilities within a dentist’s office, and are an indispensable member of any dental office staff.
A dental hygienist is not a dentist; however, they are a critical member of the dental team. What do dental hygienists do? Well, the quick answer would be that they clean your teeth, but that would be only a small portion of what is actually involved in their duties. A more accurate description is that a dental hygienist is a licensed oral health professional who offers preventative dental care and teaches their patients care of their teeth and oral health.
DUTIES OF THE DENTAL HYGIENIST
Here is a list of things that they do and some of the services they provide:
TRAINING AND EDUCATION REQUIREMENTS
The dental hygienist is a healthcare professional who is able to offer services after obtaining the proper licensing or credentials from the appropriate jurisdiction. To work in this field, you must graduate from an accredited community college, technical college, university or dental school. You will also need to pass a national written standardized exam administered by the American Dental Association’s Joint Commission of National Dental Examiners. Additionally, depending on the state you plan to practice in, you will have to successfully pass a practical clinical examination administered by either your state’s board of dental examiners or a regional board.
The role of the dental hygienist is continuously changing to meet the needs of our society and provide the highest quality of oral health care. Through collaboration with other health care professionals the goal of attaining and maintaining optimal oral health and wellness can be achieved.
Remember, don’t neglect your dental hygiene and see your a dental hygienist twice a year to keep your teeth and gums healthy and disease free.
“You don’t have to brush all your teeth . . . just the ones you want to keep!” – Author Unknown