Dental hygienists, also known as oral health therapists, work closely with the dentist, and their primary focus is on preventative dental care. As highly-trained dental practitioners, dental hygienists focus on techniques that help prevent dental diseases such as active periodontitis, dental caries, and gingivitis. Below are some of the roles and responsibilities of dental hygienists.
Treating patients: Some dental hygienists' treatments include applying sealants to damaged and cracked teeth, removing tartar and plaque build-up from teeth, root planing and scaling, and giving patients fluoride treatments for weak teeth. They also perform regular teeth cleaning and conduct a thorough examination on new and existing patients to provide the dentists with insight on the type of treatment required.
Educating and counseling patients: Dental hygienists are also responsible for educating patients on how to care for their teeth between appointments. They are expected to make patients feel comfortable regardless of the condition of their teeth when they come in for treatment. They also instruct patients on what to do after they receive treatments such as root planing and scaling to treat gingivitis.
X-rays and impressions: Dental hygienists are also responsible for taking full series x-ray images or impressions of individual teeth or a group of teeth for making oral appliances such as dentures and implants.