What is a Dental Hygienist?
Registered Dental Hygienists are licensed oral health care professionals who provide treatment to prevent cavities and periodontal (gum) disease. They help patients maintain healthy teeth and gums which helps promote overall wellness.
Patient care performed by dental hygienists may include: conducting oral cancer screenings and head and neck exams, recording medical and dental health histories, monitoring blood pressure, scaling teeth above and below the gumline to remove soft and hard deposits and bacteria, processing of dental xrays, checking for changes or abnormalities in the mouth, applying fluorides and sealants to protect teeth from cavities, patient education and counseling patients on proper nutrition for overall health.
DID YOU KNOW that the signs and symptoms of potentially life-threatening conditions such as oral cancer, diabetes, osteoporosis, eating disorders, HIV and heart disease often appear in the mouth first? Dental hygienists support the dentist in early detection of serious problems by focusing on extensive oral exams.
Education and Licensing Requirements
Dental hygienists must complete an accredited dental hygiene program requiring approximately 2,000 hours of classroom study, with nearly 600 hours dedicated to supervised clinical dental hygiene instruction. Dental hygienists receive a license to practice after completing a national board exam and a regional or state exam.
It is your consumer right to be informed about the individual providing your dental hygiene services. Look for the dental hygiene license displayed in the dental office.
For general information about dental hygienists, write the American Dental Hygienists’ Association, 444 North Michigan Avenue, Suite 3400, Chicago, IL 60617, or visit the web site at www.adha.org.
Reduced Cost Dental Hygiene Services
To receive reduced-cost dental hygiene care, patients may contact one of the dental hygiene schools in Georgia. Dental hygiene students treat patients under the supervision of faculty members at these facilities.