Under general supervision, dental hygienists provide services without the presence of an on-site dentist, as long as the dentist is available for consultation, diagnosis and evaluation. The decision to have a professional dental cleaning without a dental exam will largely depend on whether you are a new or existing patient. As in many industries where maintenance and performance are cared for by a variety of different people, in dentistry, oral health is the competence of several professionals, each with different qualifications and skills, but all working together to achieve a result. In many dental offices today, you can expect to meet several professionals and staff, all with a different but related role.
There may be a receptionist, a dental assistant, a dentist, a specialist and, last but not least, a dental hygienist. Therefore, the simple answer to the question of whether you should see a dental hygienist (and why) is that these dental professionals play a key role in the continuity of dental health maintenance and treatments. Dental hygienists can perform other procedures depending on the laws that apply where they work. By talking to you about your diet and recommending other preventive measures, your hygienist can help you maintain a routine that will delay tooth decay.
Often, the hygienist will spend several appointments keeping the gums healthy and ready for the dentist to restore the teeth with crowns and fillings. Dental hygienists are primarily concerned with “preventive” dental health and the treatment of gum diseases: they show you the right home care and help you keep your teeth and gums healthy. Often, your dentist may even refer you to a hygienist so that the two professionals can work together to ensure that your mouth is generally healthy. Teeth whitening is also usually performed by the dental hygienist, with a prescription from your dentist.
Dental hygienists can also place fissure sealants, apply fluoride varnishes, and administer fluoride treatments. There are many things you can do to help yourself and the hygienist, since you're the one who takes care of your mouth between office visits. If any problems are detected, the hygienist or dentist will recommend further tests to check the severity and if there is any damage to the jaw. Your hygienist can help you by analyzing your tooth decay problem and your diet, and making some recommendations for you to consider.
The costs of treatment with a dental hygienist will vary depending on what is being done and from office to office. Using a small mirror and scraper, the hygienist removes plaque that has accumulated on the gum line, under and between the teeth.