In reality, you only spend enough time with your dentist if there are any problems, such as if you need treatment for gum disease or if you have a cavity that needs to be filled. A hygienist, on the other hand, is there to maintain preventive care and help you avoid any major problems. The primary job of the dental hygienist is preventive care. Your goal, or yours, as the case may be, is to make sure your teeth stay in good shape.
The dental hygienist can review your dental health history and examine your mouth to assess your overall oral health. You can map your teeth, that is, mark any problems that the dentist finds or the work you do on a map of your teeth in your dental records. You can take x-rays, clean your teeth, and polish them. You can remove sutures and do fluoride treatments.
You can even take the impressions needed for a mouth guard or retainer.
Dental hygienistsdo much more than just clean your teeth. They are the dental professional who is most familiar with the patient's teeth because they spend most of their time evaluating the mouth during cleaning. These are the important things your dental hygienist does during a routine cleaning.
While dentists generally undergo an intensive five-year training program, dental hygienists typically complete a less rigorous program and have a bachelor's degree. A dental hygienist is a licensed dental professional who receives two years of specialized training in the area of dental hygiene. However, the dental hygienist cannot diagnose or treat any dental problems, such as tooth decay or gum disease. One of the most important functions of a dental hygienist is their ability to educate their patients about risk factors and home care.
In fact, if you don't have any ongoing dental problems, your care may be mostly in the hands of a dental hygienist. While your dental hygienist cleans your teeth, he or she is also evaluating the entire interior of the oral cavity. Another important part of the dental hygienist's job is to inform you, the dental patient, about the best way to care for your teeth. A dental hygienist who didn't give her name left a message in Action's voicemail saying that she had been specifically taught that she couldn't clean new patients before the dentist examined and diagnosed them.
However, some hygienists earn a degree in dental hygiene in a four-year college program. When you visit your dentist's office, you're usually seen by a dental hygienist and a dentist. A hygienist does not diagnose or treat dental problems and cannot perform fillings, extractions, or other procedures that require a degree in dentistry. Even so, all hygienists pass a certification exam and are licensed by the state, as do dentists and other health care providers.
As you may have noticed, the hygienist usually takes care of much of the preparatory work during checkups, including the initial evaluation process and cleaning. However, they can help the dentist with these procedures and play a crucial role as an extra pair of hands.