4 Common Procedures Dental Hygienists Perform

4 Common Procedures Dental Hygienists Perform

Dental Hygienists are an essential part of the dental team. They assist dentists with procedures, conduct dental screenings, and advise patients on preventative measures. Dental hygienists contribute to patient oral health from procedures they perform to developing personal after-care practices. Hygienists help dentists decide treatment for patients and manage patients’ oral health in and out of the office. As one of the first staff to speak with patients, hygienists help patients understand the best way to manage their oral health.

Here are some procedures dental hygienists perform and how they help manage patient oral health. 

Patient screening

Hygienists do procedural assessment and screenings such as oral cancer screenings, neck inspections during patient visits to ensure patient health status.

Fluoride treatment

 Fluoride is a natural mineral that helps to build strong teeth and prevent cavities. Treatment happens by applying fluoride to patients’ teeth. The hygienist performs the treatment to repair teeth and reduce tooth decay.  

Dental X-rays

Part of a dental hygienist’s job is to perform diagnostic x-ray exams to check patients for any oral health issues, mainly for disease diagnostics, i.e., tumor, cyst decay, bone loss. X-rays allow the dentist and hygienist to understand the patient’s oral health and issues, making it easier to review, report and develop a personal oral health plan.

Oral Deep Cleaning Teeth

Oral cleaning is part of a dental hygienist’s job.

Deep cleaning allows hygienists to remove calculus and plaque (deposits) from all surfaces of the teeth. For deep cleaning, hygienists perform a non-surgical procedure involving scaling and root planning. The procedure is to remove bacterial toxins and tartar deposits from the patient’s teeth and root surfaces under the gum. 

Aside from procedures, dental hygienists develop individual plans to help patients sustain their oral health after visits. Here are two ways hygienists work to ensure patients receive quality care even after their visits.

Study patient health history

Dental Hygienists are patient-driven, they care and advocate for their patients even after visits.

They manage patient care by studying patient family history, medication they take, and reviewing x-ray exams; includes changes that have occurred during their last visit. It’s important to study and keep patient history up-to-date update patient history as it allows dentists, dental hygienists, and patients to decide on the next steps. By studying their health history, hygienists can understand the cause of patient issues, risk factors and develop plans to assist patients.

Educate Patients

Dental hygienists perform patient hygiene therapy and perform oral assessments. They collaborate with dentists and dental assistants to discuss patient overall health and develop after-care plans and routines with patients. Hygienists work one on one with patients and their guardians or family members to help patients improve their health.  

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About the author

Joycelyn Ghansah

Joycelyn Ghansah is a former Healthcare Organizer with a background public health, include reproductive and sexual health. When she's not freelance writing, she's transcribing interviews and researching ways to strengthen healthcare labor laws.

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