What is a dental hygienist?
A dental (oral) hygienist is a supplementary oral health worker who assists the dentist, periodontist, orthodontist, etc. Her daily tasks vary and may include:
- Teeth cleaning instructions
- Routine teeth cleaning
- Fluoride treatments
- Treating sensitive tooth necks
- Regular follow up of patients who have had treatment of gum disease.
- Bleaching procedures
- Taking impressions for study models and biteplates
- Taking follow up xrays of teeth and implants
Such an appointment usually takes about 1hour, and includes a plaque index, assessment of your current teeth cleaning procedures (ie flossing and brushing techniques), cleaning of teeth in general and specific attention to areas that require more intensive maintenance.
The dental hygienist will liase with the periodontist and bring to his / her attention any problems that may have developed or resurfaced following treatment.
After the treatment of moderate to severe gum disease involving bone loss (ie periodontitis), a patient is required to attend 3-monthly dental hygienist visits and yearly periodontist visits in order to ensure the best long-term prognosis for the treated teeth.