Dental Hygienists and What They Do

Dental care is something that everyone needs. It is recommended to have a biannual visit for regular cleanings and checkups to ensure good oral health. A day as a dentist is quite the busy one. With many patients to see and all with different oral care needs, it can get hectic and stressful. Dentists rely on the help of their dental staff to make sure all patients are taken care of properly. Between the dentist, the front receptionists and dental hygienists, your oral care is sure to be cared for.

Dental Hygienist Training

Female Dentist With Tools

There are many different schools that offer dental hygienist training. There are specific dental schools, community colleges, and universities that offer dental schooling. When looking for a school to attend make sure it is accredited by the American Dental Association’s Commission on Dental Accreditation. Depending on where you live, each state has different requirements to become a licensed dental hygienist. Some only require an associates degree, where other states require a bachelors degree. Courses include dental anatomy, radiology, oral pathology, anesthesiology, dental materials, and pharmacology. Once courses are completed, students will practice their skills on real patients to gain clinical experience. At the end of it all, the dental hygienist will have to pass a licensing exam such as the National Board Dental Hygiene Examination. After successfully completing all of this, the dental hygienist will become licensed and may begin work at a dental office.

Dental Hygienist Responsibilities

As a dental hygienist, they have many responsibilities in order to properly care for patient’s and their oral health. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, dental hygienists typically do the following:

  • Remove tartar, stains, and plaque from teeth
  • Apply sealants and fluorides to help protect teeth
  • Take and develop dental x-rays
  • Assess patient’s oral health and report findings to dentists
  • Document patient care and treatment plans
  • Educate patients about oral hygiene techniques, such as how to brush and floss correctly
girl getting dental cleaning

Your dental hygienist is the first person you see when going to your dental appointment. They clean your teeth and take x-rays, and prepare the patient for the consultation with the dentist. They are also critical in assisting your dentist with dental procedures such as root canal therapy, wisdom teeth extraction, and restoration work.

The ADA reports that dental hygienists have a rewarding career. There is personal satisfaction in being a dental hygienist by being able to help people have healthy oral care habits. Oral health is linked to your overall health and is important to care for. Being a dental hygienist is considered prestigious. They are respected and valued members of the oral health care team. The job also offers variety. Every day there are different patients with different needs, so each day there is something new to encounter and accomplish. Perhaps the biggest perk of being a dental hygienist is job security. Every person needs dental care, so there will always be a need for dental hygienists and the work that they do. There are usually many dental offices within a city that dental hygienists may seek work at. Be sure to thank your dental hygienist for their dedication and the hard work they do the next time you go in for your dental appointment.