What Does a Dental Hygienist Do?


Your Dental Hygienist is More Than a Friendly Face!

Much of the time spent during your dental exam is with your dental hygienist. So, we thought it would be valuable to share more about what your dental hygienist is trained to do to help you maintain optimal oral health and a beautiful smile.

Your dental hygienist is MUCH more than a friendly face that greets you during your dental visit. They are on the front lines of your dental care, serving as the first member of the dental team to administer your oral care and treatment. The dentist highly values the hygienist’s analysis of your teeth and is better able to diagnosis and treat any critical oral conditions based on their initial assessment.

It’s important to point out that your dental hygienist has undergone special training in order to provide you with expert, one-on-one dental care. Unlike dental assistants, who typically provide administrative tasks for dentists and must always be under a dentist’s supervision when working with patients, dental hygienists in the state of Arizona hold a degree in dental hygiene and a state license in the dental field. Therefore, your dental hygienist has the necessary training to work with patients directly. In addition, some dental hygienists are also certified to administer local anesthesia and nitrous oxide during patient procedures.

What can you expect your dental hygienist to do ahead of your consult with the dentist? Your dental hygienist will be directly involved in your care, thoroughly cleaning your teeth and providing preventative treatment. The hygienist will primarily:

  • Use a small mirror to check for gingivitis around the teeth and gums
  • Remove plaque and tartar using a scaler and/or other special dental tools
  • Polish the teeth with a high-powered electric toothbrush
  • Administer a deep flossing between your teeth to remove any remaining plaque or toothpaste
  • Apply a fluoride treatment
  • Develop x-rays
  • For pediatric patients, sealants may be administered to help prevent cavities
  • Give patients preventative oral care and dental hygiene tips and suggestions

As you can see, your dental hygienist plays a vital and collaborative role in your oral health. So, during your next dental exam, we encourage you to acknowledge the great attention and care you will no doubt receive from your dental hygienist. At Dr. E’s Cosmetic & Family Dentistry, we are fortunate to have two very skilled and friendly hygienists, Michele King and Carmen Salaiz. Like your dentist, and YOU, they are very much invested in your long-term dental (and overall!) health.

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