Who’s the first person you think of when you think of your dentist’s office?
For most people, it’s probably the dentist. But one person couldn’t treat all those patients by themselves. Dentists have talented professionals to help them, and they’re known as dental hygienists. You know them as the friendly person you see before the dentist comes in, but you may not know how valuable they really are throughout the office. Check out the seven primary responsibilities of your dental hygienist.
One of the most important functions of your dental hygienist is to screen patients for oral health problems. These include dental diseases like gum disease, as well as the overall health of your teeth. Hygienists are trained to detect initial signs of major oral diseases, and they’re easier to treat when found early.
X-rays are one of the most valuable tools at the dentist’s disposal and it’s the dental hygienist that is in charge of the x-ray process. This includes operating the x-ray machine to ensure clear images, as well as processing and interpreting the result.
One of the most physically demanding tasks of a dental hygienist is also among the most valuable to the patient. That task is deep cleaning to remove tartar, a substance that can’t be removed by brushing alone. Your hygienist does this with metal tools that they use to scrape away these cavity causing materials.
Not every patient was taught how to properly brush, floss, and rinse their teeth – That’s another way that the dental hygienist is valuable. With advanced dental knowledge, they can fill in any gaps that patients may have in their understanding of oral hygiene. Half of the battle for healthy teeth is fought at home, so this knowledge makes a major difference for patients.
Sealants and fluorides are crucial components of any dental office, and it’s the dental hygienists that learn the proper way to apply these treatments. While fluoride is a vital component of teeth cleaning, sealants are involved with protecting your teeth. If you have questions about either fluoride or sealants, ask your hygienist, since they’re the ones who apply them.
Certain dental procedures require molds of the patient’s teeth, known as impressions. Taking impressions requires patience, precision, and dexterity, and it’s completely done by the dental hygienist. Keeping patients calm and comfortable during this process is also the role of the hygienist.
The dental hygienist is not just an expert at basic dental procedures – they also handle a lot of documentation and other office management duties. Ensuring that patient records and documents go where they’re supposed to and that office affairs are in order is another significant task of the dental hygienist.
At Reger Family Dental, our hygienists are a valuable part of our family. When you visit us as a patient, you’re part of the family too. Whether you’re here for a simple check-up or are having a major procedure done, both our hygienists and Dr. Chris Reger will be instrumental in the process. Visit us with your dental problems and feel free to high-5 our hygienists when you arrive – they play a major role in keeping your smile fresh. Contact us in San Antonio today!