what is a dental hygienist and why you need one

What is a Dental Hygienist and Why You Need them?


Though their profession can often be misconstrued for something else, dental hygienists are not dentists. Their primary job is to handle or carry out preventative oral care procedures under the close supervision of a licensed dentist. What they do is clean a patient’s teeth and inspect their mouth for indicators of damage, gum problems, and other oral diseases. 

A Canberra hygienist, for example, makes sure their patients maintain good oral health so they can enjoy clean, healthy teeth for a long, long time.  

Scope of a Dental Hygienist’s Work Load

In summary fashion, here is a list of duties and responsibilities usually undertaken by dental hygienists:

  1. Review and Screening

During the screening process, the hygienist interviews patients about their oral health history and thoroughly examines their teeth for any signs of decay, yellowing, diseases and other such problems. The inspection takes time. But because it is very important, all patients need to undergo the process before any service or procedure is carried out.

Patients must fully disclose their personal oral health history to avoid future complications and hasten the review and screening process. This gives hygienists the leeway to forward your case to licensed professionals. But only if a dental inspection reveals deeper, more complex oral health issues. Where necessary, your hygienist may request you to undergo a dental x-ray. This allows your teeth to be inspected in more detail.

2) Dental Cleaning

This is essentially the be-all and end-all of a dental hygienist. To have your teeth cleaned is the primary reason why you approach them in the first place. Using different tools and methodologies, hygienists clean your teeth by removing plaque, tartar, stains and other possible causes of tooth decay and gum diseases. Regular cleaning of teeth not only prevents cavities but it also builds resilience, leading to long-term oral health. Paying attention to your teeth is essentially a win-win solution for both patients and hygienists.

3) Preventative Care and Maintaining Oral Hygiene

Some of the most dedicated dental hygienists go over and above their usual duties. Their advocacy is for patients to make oral hygiene a part of their day-to-day lives. Meaning, you think about hygiene even when you are not facing teeth or gum problems.

Your dental hygienist may ask you to apply a sealant or fluoride prior to your hygiene appointment. Conditioning is a must because chemicals used or procedures administered during the session might wear out your teeth. While a sealant is made from acrylic that protects the surface of the back teeth (particularly among children), fluoride reinforces the tooth enamel and prevents acid from eroding it.

Do You Need a Dental Hygienist?

A dental hygienist is a must for both children and adult. Teeth experience the wear and tear of time. Not to mention we use them all the time whenever we eat, drink or chew on something. And at times, despite our own personal oral health care routine (e.g. regularly brushing our teeth, flossing, applying teeth whitening products), there is only so much we can do.

Going to a dental clinic and setting up an appointment with a hygienist will make things easier for us. Hygienists will be able to cover grounds we are unable to using advanced cleaning techniques and equipment.

Final Thoughts

The duties and responsibilities of a dental hygienist in Canberra differ from place to place. But the key takeaway here is that they are not dentists per se. Their main goal is to help patients maintain and practice good oral health care on a long-term basis. For high level dental health problems, however, find a dentist near you instead. Dental surgery, root canal therapy and teeth bleaching are outside of a hygienist’s scope of work.

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