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Meet Your Dental Hygenist

Meet Your Dental Hygienist

The dental professionals at Total Care Dentistry include both dentists and dental hygienists. Both are knowledgeable, experienced practitioners who help take care of your teeth.

By supporting dentists and performing certain duties, hygienists constitute an integral component of dentistry.  If you’re wondering what the hygienists at Total Care Dentistry do, today’s blog will shed some light on this great profession.

A crucial role

The perception that dental hygienists merely clean teeth couldn’t be further from the truth. This is a highly technical role that is crucial to the dental practice as a whole. In fact, you may find yourself interacting more with the hygienist than the dentist on some visits.

What does a dental hygienist do?

The duties of a hygienist cover both patient care and after-care treatment. Dentists and hygienists collaborate closely to offer patient treatment beyond brushing and flossing. But there’s much more to this role.

Patient education

It might surprise you to learn that patient education is a vital element of a hygienist’s job. By teaching patients how to adopt oral care practices, hygienists serve as effective health ambassadors. All kinds of patients walk into Total Care Dentistry, and while some might be knowledgeable on oral health, others may not be. That’s where a hygienist comes in to educate and inform patients about teeth care, dental problems, etc.

Dental hygienists help you feel comfortable throughout the appointment while educating you on how to maintain oral care. Your hygienist is also likely to inform you about the connection between oral health and your diet.

Patient screening

Besides collecting your dental history, a hygienist will screen you for tooth cavities and oral disease before the dentist performs any dental work. Depending on your oral health, the hygienist might perform a more extensive assessment to spot any signs of gum disease, and will report the findings to the dentist.

Dental cleanings

Hygienists use various techniques and tools to eliminate stains, plaque, and tartar from teeth. These professionals seek to improve your dental health by preventing tooth loss and decay while simultaneously helping you enjoy self-confidence through a beautiful smile and help you maintain overall health. If you’re overdue for a cleaning, make an appointment at Total Care Dentistry today by clicking here!

Impressions and x-rays

Hygienists are often the ones taking your x-ray when you come to Total Care Dentistry. Dental x-rays are crucial in preventative care because they can identify dental problems in the initial phases and treat them before they progress into more serious ones.

Furthermore, x-rays can help your dentist detect gum disease, cavities, oral infections, and certain kinds of tumors. The frequency of how often you have x-rays taken depends on dental health, signs of dental issues, age, and risk for developing oral disease.

Hygienists can also take impressions of your teeth to develop dentures, implants, and other dental appliances.

Documenting treatment and care

Hygienists function as a bridge between a dentist and patient. After performing dental cleaning and screening for dental disease, the hygienist will proceed to report the findings to the dental practitioner. The hygienist will then prep you for your visit by educating you on the findings and delineating possible treatment options that the dental provider might pursue or propose.

Moreover, a hygienist will assess areas of concern that your dentist will address further. Just as significant as the treatment and care you receive from a hygienist is the documentation of the same. It’s worth noting that hygienists are major players in developing and maintaining records because their role involves tracking whatever is performed and discussed throughout your dental visit.

Dental hygienist training

Many hygienists spend more time with patients than dental assistants and dentists on an average visit, so thorough training is critical to this role.

Since they gain valuable experience on the job. some hygienists choose to go on to become fully licensed dentists in their own right.

Accreditation

People who aspire to become a licensed dental hygienist attend a program approved by the Commission on Dental Accreditation (CODA), which meet superior education standards. These accredited programs usually cover major content areas: biomedical sciences, general education, dental hygiene science, and dental sciences.

Dental schools, community colleges, and technical institutions provide associate degree programs for hygienists.

Licensing

Dental hygienists should be state-licensed. Upon graduating from an accredited program, they must pass the dental hygiene exam. In addition, each state has a clinical-based exam which tests areas including restorative techniques and hygiene procedures.

Dental hygienist students can also expect to undertake a law and drug exam that covers state-specific regulations.

Once all of these exams are completed with passing grades, a dental hygienist can be considered fully licensed.

Why we love our dental hygienists

While the characteristics and personalities of hygienists differ greatly, successful practitioners share the following traits.

Attention to detail

Paying keen attention to patients’ details is crucial in to providing high quality care at Total Care Dentistry. When you have tooth pain, even the slightest nudge or touch can cause discomfort, so a great hygienist will always be conscious of your dental woes.

Some hygienists’ tasks require detailed attention, including teeth assessment, identification of stains, and other major problems that might need the dentist’s expert opinion. Accurate and thorough documentation is another critical role for hygienists.

People and communication skills

It takes a hygienist with a unique personality to put our patients at ease and offer expert advice on your oral health while at Total Care Dentistry. A calm demeanor, good listening skills, and a sense of humor go a long way to making patients feel comfortable.

Patience and empathy

The best dental hygienists can handle kinds of people they see throughout the day. Some patients will probably be nervous or fearful, so patience, empathy, and a gentle touch are essential to making patients at Total Care Dentistry feel relaxed, comfortable, and confident.

Make an appointment at Total Care Dentistry today

Our friendly and knowledgeable staff are waiting to help you with any needs, issues, or concerns you may have about your teeth and oral care. Give us a call at 757-317-5369 and make an appointment to come see us!