What does my Dental Hygienist do?
A dental hygienist is a licensed oral health care professional. The dental hygienist is a clinician, oral health educator, health promoter, consumer advocate, administrator, and researcher. The goal of dental hygiene is to assist individuals in achieving and maintaining optimal oral health.

A wide range of settings is available for the practice of a dental hygienist, such as private dental offices, community clinics, hospitals, chronic care facilities, public health departments, educational institutions and research.

Dental hygienist's are regulated by provincial or state legislation. Generally the responsibilities of a dental hygiene clinician include the development, implementation and evaluation of a dental hygiene plan of care based on the client's needs:

I. Assessment (examples)

  • examining, assessing and documenting oral conditions including those of the head and neck region through the use of clinical measurements, radiographs and other assessment methods.
II. Planning (examples)
  • development of individualized oral hygiene programs for home care
  • development of a professional dental hygiene plan of care to meet the client's needs
  • diet analysis and counseling for dental caries control and prevention
  • educating clients, the general public and special population groups (example: seniors, new parents, minority groups, handicapped persons) regarding oral health
  • planning and conducting oral health programs in the community
III. Implementation (examples)
  • non- surgical periodontal therapy (removing disease-related deposits on the tooth surface such as plaque and calculus as well as unsightly tooth stains for cosmetic purposes)
  • applying decay preventing agents such as fluoride and sealants
IV. Evaluation (examples)
  • evaluating the success of a home care oral hygiene program
  • evaluating the dental hygiene plan of care and the client's satisfaction with it

The role of the dental hygienist is continuously changing to meet the needs of our society and provide the highest quality of oral health care. Through collaboration with other health care professionals and the general public, the goal of optimal oral health and wellness can be achieved.

This site is intended as general information only and should not
replace regular consultation with Dr.Talcott or the
Dental Hygienist. Copyright 2003 Dr Bob Talcott, DDS

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