Understanding What Dental Hygienists Do

Here at Country Dental, we often get asked about what dental hygienists do.

In this post, our Cambridge dentists will help shed some light on what dental hygienists do and why they are such an integral part of our dental care team.

The key personnel in any dental clinic may include:

  • The attending dentist
  • The dental assistant
  • The dental hygienist

Dentist – Your dentist is the only person qualified to do a comprehensive dental exam and any restorative work necessary to address cavities, chipped or cracked teeth, or other issues like gum and soft tissue diseases.

Dental Assistant – The dental assistant offers support for the dentist such as gathering the patient’s medical history, equipment setup and maintenance, and assisting the dentist during exams and certain dental procedures.

A Detailed List of What Dental Hygienists Do

Promoting dental health an important part of what dental hygienists do. Here are some of the other things that dental hygienists are responsible for.

Preparation – The dental hygienist ensures that protocols are followed to help preserve the health of the patient and prevent the spread of disease.

Oral Health Check – The first thing a dental hygienist does is review your oral history and assess your oral health.

Teeth X-Rays – If required, the dental hygienist may also x-ray your teeth so the dentist can see what is below the gum line.

Cancer Screening – The dental hygienist will also examine your gums and teeth and talk to your dentist about signs of oral cancer and any periodontal diseases.

Teeth Cleaning – Along with cleaning your teeth to remove tartar and plaque buildup or teeth staining, the hygienist will also gather information for the dentist. This may include information on cavities, gum disease and condition of the teeth.

Teeth Whitening – Your hygienist can perform in office tooth whitening, brightening your teeth up to 8 shades whiter in under an hour.

Fluoride Treatment – To help prevent cavities, the dental hygienist may administer a fluoride treatment.

Dental Education – The dental hygienist will also help educate patients on proper dental care and hygiene including how to brush, how often to brush, and when is it time to change your toothbrush.

As you can see, there’s a lot more to what dental hygienists do than just cleaning teeth. They may also assist the dentist during dental restorative work or dental emergencies. Duties may include preparing, cleaning and polishing removable dental appliances or removing cement from any crown or bridge work.

There are also a number of other duties that a dental hygienist may be responsible for that the patient may not be aware. These may include:

  • Documenting and charting all dental procedures performed
  • Dental equipment care and maintenance
  • Inventory and ordering dental supplies

For additonal information on what dental hygienists do, visit this American Dental Association page.

About Country Dental

Country Dental now has three locations to serve you in southern Ontario including our flagship Cambridge dental clinic plus clinics in Toronto and Fergus. Along with 24-hour emergency dental services we also offer family and kids dental services.

Prevention is the best way to take care of your teeth and gums. Let us help you care for your teeth. To book a dental appointment, please call the Country Dental clinic nearest you:

Toronto:            416-335-7377 

Cambridge:       519-620-7474

Fergus:               519-787-7878