Monday, November 5, 2007

What Does a Dental Hygienist Do?

Dental hygienists are registered and certified health professionals who specialize in preventing oral health problems and diseases. They work with individual clients or communities to prevent tooth, gum and mouth diseases and injuries that can affect overall health.

Dental hygiene services are provided to individuals across the age spectrum. Dental hygienists work with patients ranging from parents in pre-natal classes to the elderly in long-term care centres. A work day could involve assessment, planning, implementing and evaluating oral health data and include:
teaching an elementary class about oral health care
counseling a family about oral health
providing fluoride treatments to patients during a dental visit
administering local anaesthetic for dental hygiene or dental treatment
teaching long-term care staff about mouthcare for their clients
working with nurses to prevent sports and playground injuries
screening seniors for signs of oral cancer
performing head, neck and oral examinations
applying pit and fissure sealants to teeth
reviewing literature and conducting research
scaling and rootplaning, and so on

The dental hygiene profession focuses on preventive health care. As a result, many dental hygienists deliver health promotion programs in their community to parent and special needs groups, schools, day cares and long-term seniors' care facilities. Among the programs provided are:
Tobacco Cessation
Sports/Mouthguard Clinics
Well Baby Seminars

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