A dental hygienist is one of the key players in the dental office. This person has a lot of responsibility aside from the dentist. There are several things that the hygienist will do for the patient so that the dentist has time to do major procedures like fillings and crowns.
When a patient goes to the dentist, the hygienist is the one who will usually clean the teeth and floss them before the doctor looks to see if there are any cavities. This person will make sure the plaque is off of the teeth. Tartar on the teeth is also removed. Any stains that are present will try to be removed as well. Well root planning is a procedure that treats the gums. Any X-rays that need to be taken will be done by the hygienist. If the patients is getting any kind of work done, then the hygienist will usually administer the anesthetic in the mouth. This could be in the form of a gel rubbed on the gum or an injection with medication. Nitrous oxide is started by the hygienist as well.
The hygienist is the person who sits with the patient while procedures are being completed. He will hand the dentist any tools that are needed and make sure all of the saliva and blood remain suctioned from the mouth so that the dentist can work. This person will rinse the mouth with water to keep it clean during procedures. Promoting healthy oral care is one of the responsibilities of the hygienist. Many will go to schools to educate students on the proper way to brush and floss. The importance of taking care of the teeth and gums is detailed with showing the patient pictures and videos.
Before a cleaning is performed, the hygienist will assess any oral conditions that might contribute to the health of the mouth. The person will look over the general health of the patient as well because there are some conditions that can affect the mouth, such as diabetes. The hygienist will examine the mouth for any signs of cancer and begin the charting process of all of the teeth that are in the mouth and issues that might be of concern, especially if the patient is new to the office. One of the jobs that the person is responsible for is helping with dental sealants. The dentist usually does the sealant procedure, but the hygienist will help with curing the sealant on the tooth. Fluoride treatments are also provided by the hygienist. He will give the fluoride to the patient and instruct the person on how long to rinse. After the patient has rinsed, the hygienist will discuss the best kind of fluoride to get for home and how often to rinse.
Some hygienists can perform periodontal dressing and remove sutures. They can also polish metal in the mouth that is used in fillings. The hygienist is a vital asset to how the dental office runs. Without this person, the dentist would have to do all of the work and not be able to provide the care needed for some patients who are only there for a cleaning or basic treatment.