You made an appointment with your dentist and when you show up the secretary checks you in. When they call you back, you may not see the dentist until the end of your appointment, and you wonder who this person is that has been working on your teeth. Every dentist’s office has one or more dental hygienists who are your first point of contact during your oral health assessment.
A dental hygienist must still go through a tough schooling process and be able to provide a variety of services for the dentist’s office. Your dental hygienist can take care of the following tasks:
- Patient screening, including health history review, assessment of overall oral health, and documentation of blood pressure and pulse
- Taking dental x-rays
- Removing plaque and build-up on the teeth in addition to applying preventive coatings
- Teaching patients about oral health and hygiene.
- Counseling on the importance of good nutrition to the patient’s overall oral health
- Making impressions or casts of teeth.
- Documentation of changes or dentist notes and other office management duties
Your dental hygienist is the first person you see at the office who can provide you with educational materials, ask about any changes since your last visit, and assist with routine oral health assessments. Next time you make a dental appointment, say thank you to your dental hygienist for all that they do!