Dental Hygiene Overview
Dental hygienists are a vital part of the team that meets the oral and overall health needs of patients. While dental hygienists are best known for cleaning teeth, they do much more. They:
- provide treatment for early and moderate gum disease.
- take, process, and interpret x-rays – also called “radiographs”
- apply sealants and fluorides to teeth
- document patient care.
Dental hygienists also play an important role as prevention specialists. They:
- teach patients appropriate oral hygiene techniques, such as tooth brushing and flossing
- counsel patients regarding nutrition and tobacco and their impact on oral health.
Hygienists are also trained to recognize the warning signs of potentially life-threatening diseases whose early symptoms first appear in the mouth. These include:
- oral cancer
- cardiovascular disease
- eating disorders.
While they don’t diagnose, they can guide patients on questions to ask their dentists.
Overall, dental hygienists are primarily responsible for life-long monitoring and protection of patients’ oral health.
For more information:
Go to the Dental Hygiene health topic.