June 12, 2013

What Is A Dental Hygienist?

Many people frequently are confused by the difference between a dental assistant and a dental hygienist.  There is a difference.  Each position serves a different function in a dental team.  Being a dental assistant should not be confused with being a dental hygienist.

A dental hygienist is the position of the person, other than the dentist, who you visit to have your teeth cleaned.  A career as a dental hygienist carries its own set of requirements and regulations, including an education of at least two years and as much as six years.  Sometimes people who are interested in dental hygiene will start their careers in dentistry as a dental assistant to gain experience and earn some money before furthering their education.

Along with the dentist, this licensed healthcare professsional provides preventative oral care. Dental hygienists clean patients' teeth and examine them for signs of disease and damage. They teach patients how to maintain good oral health. Their scope of practice—what services they are legally allowed to deliver—differs according to the rules of the state in which they are licensed.

On a typical day in addition to cleaning teeth to remove hard and soft deposits on teeth, the dental hygienist will take and develop x-rays, keep the patient's records in order recording the dental care provided, teach patients how to take care of their teeth, prepare diagnostic tests for the dentist to administer, and apply sealants and fluoride to patients' teeth.

For information about other dental topics visit DrTav.com

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