Dental hygienists play a major role in high quality dental care. Many people think that cleaning teeth is the sole domain of these highly skilled professionals. However, the comprehensive hygienist does much more than just clean teeth. While hygienists have a variety of career paths they can follow above and beyond the confines of a dental practice, those who choose to practice in the dental office provide care and education that is crucial to peak oral health.
The Comprehensive Hygienist as Educator
One of the major roles of the hygienist is as an educator in oral health. No one automatically knows how to properly care for their teeth. Hygienists provide oral education to patients in a manner that is understandable and actionable. Highly skilled hygienists have the ability to instruct patients in practical application of techniques to keep teeth and gums healthy. They also provide information about preventing and/or managing dental problems. In this capacity, it is the job of the comprehensive hygienist to assist patients in maintaining good oral health.
The Comprehensive Hygienist as Practitioner
Your best oral health depends on regular visits to the dentist and professional cleanings. Part of that visit includes an oral exam in which the teeth are examined for dental decay and the gums are assessed for gingivitis or gum disease. These initial exams are often carried out by the hygienist. Dental radiographs or x-rays are also performed at this time. These images provide information regarding issues that may be occurring beneath the surface of the teeth and gums.
When it comes to oral hygiene, the comprehensive hygienist has the tools and skills to clean your teeth more thoroughly than what could ever be accomplished by brushing and flossing alone. With special dental instruments and techniques the hygienist is able to get into nooks and crannies in your mouth and between your teeth that would otherwise collect plaque and tartar.
The Comprehensive Hygienist as Periodontal Therapists
Another major role of the hygienist is that of periodontal therapist. In this role the hygienist diagnoses and treats periodontal or gum disease. This is a very important part of dental care particularly when studies are showing that most tooth loss in later years occurs as a result of periodontal disease. This is a very preventable disease and dental hygienists promote and work towards prevention. However, when a patient is already experiencing the problem, the comprehensive hygienist has the expertise and skills to address it. Part of it entails eliminating the disease and its cause. The other part consists of educating the patient on how to properly care for the teeth and gums during the treatment phase and afterward so that the disease does not return.
The Comprehensive Hygienist as Advocate
Your hygienist is a stalwart advocate for your oral health. Ongoing education keeps the highly skilled comprehensive hygienist at the forefront of cutting edge practices and methodologies for preventive oral care. A fundamental dedication to oral health is at the core of the profession. This role takes on even more importance when considering the implications of poor oral health and its link to serious health conditions such as diabetes, cardiovascular and pulmonary diseases. While the research is not conclusive at this time, it is ongoing and concerns are being raised. The role of the hygienist is an important one in prevention and in mitigating periodontal disease.
At Village Park Family Dental, the skills of our comprehensive hygienist speak for themselves. It is our mission to ensure that you have the best oral care available and that each patient is thoroughly educated on how to properly maintain their oral health. If you are in need of dental care be sure to contact us for an appointment.