What are the critical responsibilities of a dental hygienist?

What are the critical responsibilities of a dental hygienist?

Dental hygienists play a vital role in the health and well-being of patients. Below mentioned are points to describe the responsibilities of dental hygienists –

1. Revision of Dental and Health History

Before the dentist or hygienist performs any dental work, the hygienist must conduct a session about your medical history. Dental hygiene professionals can use this information to:

  • Learn about past dental work and medical conditions.
  • Be aware of changes in overall health, prescription drugs, or allergies.
  • Examine any oral health risks.
  • Prevent medical emergencies.

The dentist will use the information from the history to inform the patient about a customised dental treatment plan.

2. Screening Patients

Apart from collecting a patient’s dental history, hygienists actively screen for decay and other oral diseases before any dentist performs any work. While this process can take just a few moments, it is crucial. Identifying problems in the head, neck, and mouth is possible before they escalate.

3. Conducting Dental Cleanings

You must be familiar with dental cleaning, a part of the job description for dental hygiene professionals. Hygienists use various tools and techniques to remove tartar and stains from teeth. They help patients maintain their dental health, prevent tooth loss, and give them the desired bright smile.

4. Taking Dental X-rays

The role of dental X-rays is crucial in preventive health care. Dental hygienists can take X-rays to spot potential problems early on and get them treated before they progress into more severe conditions. Dentists can also use dental X-rays to help detect gum disease, cavities, and certain types of tumours.

The frequency at which X-rays are taken will depend on how healthy the patient is, whether they have signs of oral disease or not, their age and risk factors. 

5. Preventive Care

After cleaning, the hygienists will educate the patient on preventive dental care. In between cleanings, preventative measures like sealant and fluoride application play an essential part in maintaining dental health. Fluoride treatments can be necessary because fluoride strengthens the teeth and protects them from acid erosion. Fluoride is a preventative and reversible treatment that can help to reverse tooth decay. 

6. Teaching dental hygiene to patients

Patient education is an essential aspect of a dental hygienist’s job.

Everyone can learn from dental hygienists how to properly brush their teeth and the importance of flossing. They may also discuss oral hygiene and recommend toothbrushes to patients.

7. Patients’ dental health is important

As part of patient education, dentists help patients maintain and improve their dental health through healthy habits and behaviours. Patients are more likely to have good dental health if they are equipped with proper dental techniques.

As a bridge between dentist and patient, hygienists play a vital role. After cleaning a patient’s teeth and screening for oral diseases, the hygienist will report the results to the dentist. The hygienist prepares patients to visit the dentist by explaining their findings and outlining possible treatment options. 

A dental hygienist’s documentation of the care and treatment provided to patients is equally important. Because they keep track and record everything discussed and performed during your visits, dental hygienists can be crucial in creating and maintaining dental records.