Well-organised teamwork always becomes successful. The dental team also consists of different healthcare personnel with different responsibilities. Dental hygienists play an integral role in keeping patients’ oral health by supporting the dental surgeon. They have their duties to perform in a dental office.
Before the dentist attends to a patient’s needs, dental hygienists screen them to identify the apparent problems. They will quickly examine the mouth both from the inside and outside. They will also examine the other parts of the head and neck area. Although it may take only about five minutes, screening the patients is essential.
Reviewing the medical and dental history
The general health of a person always has a significant impact on his oral health and vice versa. So, before any dental work, it’s essential to evaluate the patient’s general health condition including the drugs he’s taking. Previous dental experiences always provide an opportunity to modify the treatment plan beforehand. With a detailed medical and dental history, the dental surgeon can prepare a patient-tailored care plan compatible with the patient’s overall health.
Performing professional dental cleaning
The unnecessary accumulation of dental plaque is the primary causative factor for most dental diseases. Professional removal of dental plaque is, therefore, necessary to maintain optimum oral health. Dental hygienists are qualified to perform professional scaling to remove plaque, tartar, and stains from teeth. They will polish your teeth after scaling to give you a pleasing, new, and bright smile. Dental surgeons recommend dental scaling at least every six months to keep your mouth healthy and new.
Taking dental X-rays
X-rays are essential to confirm the diagnosis and identify the conditions that are not visible outside. Thus, early identification of diseases always reduces complications, morbidity, and mortality. Dental hygienists take dental X-rays to visualize simple dental conditions like dental caries, gum diseases, abscesses and complex cases like developing tumours and cancerous lesions in early stages. They can refer the patient to gum specialist or periodontist if it is needed.
Providing preventive care
Indeed prevention is better than cure. Dental hygienists play a pivotal role in preventive care. After a professional cleaning, they apply preventive care to ensure that the patient won’t develop dental diseases soon. They will apply fluoride to the teeth of patients with high caries risk. They will also apply fissure sealants in the back teeth to prevent dental decay.
Giving oral hygiene instructions
Any dental treatment will fail in the absence of proper dental hygiene maintenance. Dental hygienists are responsible for giving the patients necessary oral hygiene instructions and doing modifications after evaluating the patient’s current hygiene practices. They will always instruct you about the following things.
- Brushing and flossing habits.
- Importance of cutting down the frequency of sugar consumption.
- Importance of having a balanced diet to maintain proper oral and general health.
- When to meet your dentist again.
Maintaining patient records
Dental hygienists create and maintain patient folders. They record all the findings, and the treatments carried out during the visit. Dental records are invaluable for keeping track of the patient’s health and medico-legal purposes.