A dental hygienist routinely carries out a large number of important procedures on dental patients to ensure that the teeth and gums of their patients are clean and healthy. Although the role of dental hygienist doesn’t require the same qualifications or length of training as that of being a dentist, it is still an important job which carries with it responsibility. Dental hygienists play a vital role in the overall treatment of patients and are tremendously important to dentists in ensuring their practices run smoothly. Let’s take a closer look at the various procedures undertaken by a dental hygienist!
Helping Patients To Look After Their Teeth And Gums!
At its core, the role of being a dental hygienist entails the use a variety of dental instruments and techniques to thoroughly clean, protect and maintain the teeth of your patients. Hygienists are adept at removing plaque which has built up on the teeth of patients. This is primarily achieved through descaling and polishing, a treatment that prevents the teeth and surrounding gums from becoming infected by removing the uneven surface that plaque provides, therefore leaving the teeth surfaces clean and smooth. This makes it much harder to bacteria to stick to the teeth.
As a part of their role as a dental practitioner, Hygienists are also often required to provide treatments which are antibacterial in nature. These treatments are used to to stop decay from damaging enamel causing cavities. The goal of these preventative treatments is to better maintain the health and cleanliness of the teeth and gums of the patient, preventing or treating gum disease, and thereby avoiding irreversible tooth decay and a range of other undesirable outcomes.
Working With The Lead Dentist To Prevent Tooth Decay
UK legislation came into force on the 10th of July 2010 which allowed dental hygienists to administer local anaesthetic. Hygienist can therefore now play a valuable assistive role, supporting the dentist in various aspects of dental treatment provision or preparing patients for surgery. Many dental hygienists also take x-rays, although to do so they must have undergone the proper training and hold the relevant certification.
Fissure Sealants and Fluoride Varnishes
Fissure sealant is a preventative treatment most often applied to the biting surfaces of molars. The uneven surfaces of these teeth can sometimes provide a safe haven for bacteria, the application of fissure sealant fills tiny crevices in the tooths surface, creating a smoother biting surface that is easier to clean.
Fluoride varnish is a temporary fluoride lacquer that is applied to tooth enamel, either to remineralize the teeth and prevent hyper-sensitivity, or to prevent decay.
Educating Patients On How To Care For Their Teeth And Gums
Sadly, even in the twenty-first century, a large percentage of the public are still woefully unaware of how to properly care for, and maintain, the health of their teeth. A vital role of dental hygienists is in the education of their patients. Educating and demonstrating to patients how to brush, how much toothpaste to use, the importance of flossing and a variety of other aspects of proper dental hygiene, all play a vital part of the day-to-day role of a dental hygienist.
This article was written by Nick Davison of MapleLeaf Dental, a leading family dental practice located close to Harrogate town centre.