Great Advances In Teeth Care

Long gone are the days when you only went to the dentist if you had a toothache! Now, with the increased use of fluoride in both toothpaste and public water supplies, coupled with overall better teeth care, many patients may see dentists for regular dental check-ups and not just for emergencies. Consequently, with patients of all ages being proactive in their own dental care, the role of the dental hygienist has changed.

Working as a Dental Hygienist

If you are working as a dental hygienist, chances are, you will see more patients in regular intervals for routine dental care. As a dental hygienist, some of your responsibilities may include:

  • Making sure all the equipment and tools are clean and sterilized
  • Taking dental x-rays with advanced imaging equipment
  • Helping the dentist to record any cavities or problem teeth
  • Examining a patient's teeth and gums
  • Cleaning a patient's teeth by removing any tartar or plaque with special tools
  • Applying sealants to prevent cavities
  • Polishing teeth after a cleaning

Working as an Assistant

Many hygienists also function as assistants to the dentist. Some of the tasks you might be asked to do include:

  • Putting a protective lead apron on a patient before taking any x-rays
  • Handing the dentist tools or specialized equipment during a procedure
  • Using suctioning tools as well as water devices while the dentist is operating
  • Cleaning up the patient if the procedure is messy
  • Making sure the patient is as comfortable as possible,especially during a difficult procedure

Dental Hygienists Are Also Teachers

As a dental hygienist, you may also be asked to teach patients proper methods for teeth care. This may include showing patients (particularly young patients) how to properly brush and floss their teeth. Also, younger patients and their parents may need to be reminded that only the smallest amount of toothpaste should be used when brushing. It's also good to stress to patients that preventative care is the best way to help avoid bigger problems (cavities or gum disease). It's also wise to remind your patients to schedule their next appointment while they are still in the dentist's office!

Tags: Dental, dental hygiene, healthcare, medical technology

Julie McCoy

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