Dental hygienists are known for greeting patients with a happy smile. They’ve dedicated their lives to helping people take care of their oral health and love seeing the results.
You’ll also find that your dental hygienist serves in a variety of different roles during your visits to our office. In addition to asking you how you’re feeling, they’ll get right to work by performing these essential dental services.
Perform Routine Teeth Cleanings
A dental hygienist spends a large portion of their training learning how to provide preventive dental care to patients.
By the time they graduate from a dental hygiene program, they’ve performed many teeth cleanings on volunteer patients. They must also demonstrate their competency on state exams to get their license.
When you sit in the chair, you can trust that your dental hygienist knows how to use each specialized tool to remove plaque and tartar from your teeth. They’ll also be willing to explain each step of the procedure so you know what to expect.
Apply Preventative Care Treatments
Cleaning teeth isn’t all that dental hygienists do. They are also adept at helping to improve your oral health by offering other important services.
Hygienists often apply special sealants to the back molars to help prevent tooth decay. They’ll also give you fluoride treatments as recommended by the dentist. While these procedures only take a few minutes to complete, they can help you enjoy a lifetime of having healthier teeth.
Conduct Oral Health Screenings
As your dental hygienist gets an up close look at your mouth, they might spot signs of problems. Although your dentist will make the final diagnosis, the hygienist can point out areas of concern to them.
Having more than one person check for problems such as tooth decay and other unusual changes ensures that nothing critical gets overlooked.
If they do spot a concerning symptom or sign, they’ll put it on your chart or ask the dentist to take a closer look. You might even see them working with an assistant to check for gum disease.
Take Dental X-Rays
Hygienists are also trained on administering dental x-rays, although this might also be performed by other members of our team.
In our office, we use digital radiography to reduce your exposure to radiation. The high-tech images also give us a better look at your teeth. The computerized radiography is comfortable for patients, but it does require a high level of professional expertise to get the best images.
Hygienists also know how to increase safety for people with additional health concerns, such as pregnancy, to further reduce potential exposure.
Assist With Cosmetic Dental Services
Dr. Nielsen will oversee teeth whitening treatments with the help of our dental assistants to make sure that you achieve the brightest shade possible without damaging your teeth.
Our hygienists can also help with brightening smiles. At-home teeth bleaching treatments often require a visit to our office to get tooth impressions made. These are then used to make your customized trays.
Our dental hygienists help take impressions so that your trays have that perfect fit that makes them more comfortable and effective. Since the impressions need to be precise, hygienists practice this skill until they are certain that they’ve got it down.
Protect Patient Safety
During your dental visits, you might notice your dental hygienist wiping down countertops and carefully disposing of any contaminated materials.
What you might not see is all of the hard work that goes on behind the scenes. Our hygienists frequently assist with making sure that all of the dental equipment is properly sterilized between each procedure. They may work in the sterilization room to use an ultrasonic cleaner to remove surface debris before putting tools into the autoclave sterilizing machine.
Even before the pandemic, our hygienists have been carefully making sure that diseases are properly controlled in our office so that everyone has the safest experience.
Keep Patients Comfortable
Some patients walk into the office with a lot of anxiety. Others come to their appointment with physical challenges that interfere with their comfort. Dental hygienists know how to address many common issues that arise when someone is receiving preventative care.
Your hygienist might recommend using a pillow to alleviate lower back or neck pain during the teeth cleaning procedure. Or, you might just need them to spend a few minutes talking to you or to give you a recommendation for some great music to serve as a distraction.
Either way, they are there to turn your routine dental cleaning or bleaching treatment into a chance to relax.
Offer Advice On How to Improve Oral Hygiene
No one knows how to floss as well as a dental hygienist, but they don’t expect you to do it like a pro. Instead, dental hygienists aim to help you get close to perfection by showing you the best way to hold the floss or toothbrush as you perform your oral hygiene routine.
They can also point out areas that you might be missing as you brush and recommend ways to get your teeth sparkling clean. You can view your hygienist as a partner who is invested in helping you upgrade your oral health care.
Each dental hygienist in our office has worked hard to obtain the credentials to serve in their position. They also take continuous education courses throughout the year to keep their skills current.
We look forward to introducing you to some of the hardest workers on our team who are all ready and eager to help you love returning their friendly smiles.