A dental hygienist is a dental professional whose training and education are focused on prevention and treatments of oral diseases. Dental hygienists usually work in general dental clinics, along with the general dentist, or with dental specialists as periodontists or pediatric dentists; anyway, a dental hygienist can also work in an independent practice, in hospitals, schools, in residential aged care facilities and other dental settings.
Dental hygienists’ principal aim is to help patients in maintaining their oral health, providing them specific preventative and educational services to promote and maintain the best oral health; they educate patients on ways to improve and maintain good oral health.
The role of the dental hygienist is gaining more and more importance, since through education and a daily care is possible to preserve teeth and oral health and also save money, because life expectancy is growing and prevention is the best way to preserve the teeth, and for many other reasons as, for example, the re-evaluation of non-surgical periodontal therapy.
Teeth hygiene. The professionals.
Dental hygienists have several and different duties: they examine patients to check for signs of oral diseases such as gingivitis, and provide other preventive dental care; remove tartar, calculus, stains, and plaque from teeth; apply preventing materials, such as sealants and fluorides; take and develop dental x-rays; counsel patients about good nutrition and its impact on oral health; make impressions of patients’ teeth for study casts, and educate patients about oral hygiene techniques, such as how to brush and floss correctly.
During his or her work, a dental hygienist uses a variety of tools and devices to perform daily tasks, such as air-polishing tools, hand, and ultrasonic devices, and in some cases they have to use laser; for this reason, as technologies continue to develop, dental hygienists’ training is continuously updated and upgraded.
Regarding a dental hygienist training, it varies a lot from country to country, but in all cases, this professional figure requires a certification or a license registered with a dental association, or regulatory body within their country of practice; usually the training lasts three years.
Dental hygienist. Career.
It seems that the dental hygienist career offers many advantages, as high incomes, several opportunities of work, high prestige and personal satisfactions. About the job outlook, employment of dental hygienists is projected to grow 19 percent from 2014 to 2024, much faster than the average for all occupations.