29 Jul Seven Facts About Dental Hygienists
As a dentist, I am dependent on my dental hygienists. They are integral in running a practice that is committed to providing the highest quality care for our patients. The dental hygienist is often the first person you see after sitting in the exam chair. And while one of their objectives is to relax and comfort the patient to create a stress-free examination, they do a lot more than that. Although I know the training and skills required to become a dental hygienist, you may not. Here are Seven Facts About Dental Hygienists.
They Must Earn a Degree
A 2-year Associate Degree is required from a dental hygiene school accredited by the Commission on Dental Accreditation (CODA) of the American Dental Association (ADA). This program includes classes in liberal arts, basic and clinical sciences. From anatomy and immunology to pathology and radiology, the courses are challenging and focused. Liberal arts classes in sociology and psychology ensure the dental hygienist is trained to understand the whole patient, not just the patient’s mouth.
They Complete Rigorous Training to Earn a License
Earning an Associate Degree is just the first step to practicing as a licensed dental hygienist. In addition to completing the dental hygiene school training, an applicant can get a Texas Dental Hygiene license by passing the National Board Dental Hygiene Examination and completing a regional dental hygiene exam. Additional requirements include but are not limited to maintaining levels of proficiency in administering first aid (CPR) and regular assessments of the jurisprudence knowledge of practice rule and regulations. Regularly, dental hygienists in the state of Texas must complete 12 hours of defined Continuing Education annually to maintain their license. These stringent laws are put in place to promote high quality and safe dental care for the public.
They Perform Oral Assessments
In preparation for the exam by the dentist, the hygienist will begin by taking x-rays. This important step help with the overall assessment of the health of your mouth by evaluating the bone levels below the gum line. Above the gum line, the hygienist is focused on removing plaque-causing bacteria and polishing away stains caused by foods, beverages, and tobacco, giving you your best pearly whites.
They Teach Proper Oral Hygiene
Dental hygienists are focused on preventing gum disease and tooth decay. Their goal is to arm patients with information on proper dental care by addressing individual concerns and emphasizing the importance of oral hygiene and risk assessment with patients. They do remind all of us about the 2 x 2: brush 2 times per day for 2 minutes each time. Unsure of the type of toothbrush to use? Your dental hygienist can help. Questions about mouthwash, flossing, or gum sensitivity? Your hygienist is trained to answer these questions.
They Can Assist You with a Smoking Cessation Program
In addition to discoloration, the use of tobacco products can significantly increase your risk of periodontal disease and oral cancer. Over 50% of smokers have periodontal disease and are twice as likely to lose their teeth compared to non-smokers. If the time is right for you, a dental hygienist can assist by providing options to help you quit smoking.
They Are Committed to Their Patients
Dental hygienists are communicators. They are focused on providing education about dental care and good nutrition habits for your mouth. The hygienist must also abide by HIPPA laws which ensure the confidentiality of patient records. With an excellent chairside manner, dental hygienists have the ability to create long-term patient relationships by establishing credibility and trust.
They Love to See You Smile
It’s not often you meet someone that wants to floss someone else’s teeth, but a dental hygienist does. They are committed to providing the best care for your long-term dental health. A pre-exam smile tells them you are comfortable in their care. A post-exam smile tells them you are happy with the outcome. It creates the feeling that they have made a difference. Yes, our dental hygienist wants to floss your teeth, but there is more to it – and more to them.
Dr. Dragana Angelova
Imperial Dental Center
“We Love to See You Smile!”