Dental Hygienist – Everything Patients Ever Wanted to Know

the 40-year-old single mother of a teenage boy took off from the office on the
pretext of taking his son to a dentist for the removal of stains from his
teeth. On their arrival at the dentist’s office, they spent most of their time
with a dental hygienist who not only removed stains, tartar and plaque but also
gave valuable tips on how to maintain good oral hygiene. Before proceeding
further, let’s understand who is a dental hygienist.

Dental Hygienist – meaning, roles, importance and how to select tips

hygienist – Meaning and definition

dental hygienist is an oral healthcare professional who is trained to provide
preventive oral health care treatment to patients. A dental hygienist is an
integral part of a dental office as he does oral cleaning and checks teeth for
potential damages and abnormalities. He also suggests the kind of treatment to
be given as per the findings of the assessment. He educated patients on how to
keep their teeth and gum healthy.

does a dental hygienist do?

may have heard about dentist and their roles. But what does a dental hygienist
do? The question intrigues many. Here we describe the roles and
responsibilities of a dental hygienist.

do dental cleanings

the name suggests, a dental hygienist’s foremost task is to do dental cleaning.
They are well trained for it. They know how to remove tartar, stains and plaque
from teeth. They are well equipped with tools and techniques to make teeth
healthy and shining once again.

do dental X-ray

are now an essential tool for diagnosing oral health issues. X-rays help a
dental hygienist in the early detection of diseases. With X-rays a dental
health professional identifies signs of cavities, tumors and infection. After
detection, treatment for such disorders can be started.

ensure protection

dental hygienist is also well trained in protecting the teeth. You might have
heard about the role of sealants and fluorides in the protection of teeth.
Fluoride helps protect teeth from acid erosion while sealants are helpful for
children. A dentist is highly experienced in applying sealants and fluoride to
ensure long-lasting protection to your teeth.

assess patients

patients and knowing their oral health history is one of the important
responsibilities of a dental hygienist. He assesses the patient on various
counts like the patient’s previous treatment history, present medical
condition, prescription medicines he has taken and medical emergencies he has
been treated for.

he also examines patients for tooth decay and other diseases before the
patients meet the dentist.

educate patients

knowledge is the key to good dental health. They educate patients about how to
take care of oral health. As they are trained professionals, they educate
patients on how to brush and floss. They may guide patients on healthy dietary
habits to ensure good dental health.

treatment and instructions

from cleaning teeth and educating patients, dentists play a vital role as a
link between patients and dentists. They prepare patients before taking them to
the dentist. After assessing the patients, he documents his finding and gives
his recommendation.

the dentist treats the patients, he documents the instructions on the prescription.
He also maintains the patient’s records at the dentist’s office.

between a dentist and a dental hygienist

of us on a visit to a dental office meet a dentist and a dental hygienist. So,
many of us have queries like if both professions are one and the same. These
professionals may be working in the same team but they are not the same. Here
we differentiate between these two on the following counts.


it comes to education, dentists and dental hygienists get different education.
The basic education requirement for a dentist is DDS (Doctor of Dental Surgery)
or  DMD (Doctor of Dental Medicine) while
it is an associate degree for dental hygienists.


it comes to training, dentists and dental hygienist differ here too. The DDS
program is of two years duration but can be extended to meet the students’
requirements. But before doing DDS or DMD they have to study science subjects
in their undergraduate study program. On average, a dentist has to get 8 years
of education.

dental hygienists, there are two programs, an associated degree (2 years
duration) and a bachelor’s degree (4 years duration)

and responsibilities

it comes to the role and responsibilities of a dentist and a dental hygienist
there is a difference. Here we list the role and responsibilities of both these

of dentist

  • He
    performs treatments like root canal, dental implants and dental crowns among
  • Most
    of dentists know how to use sedatives and anesthetics for disruption-free
  • He
    can take X-rays if technicians are not there.
  • He
    prescribes medicines for a speedy recovery.
  • He
    treats fractured or chipped teeth wherever required.
  • He
    takes impressions so that dentures of the right size can be built.
  • As
    most of dentists operate on their own, they might have to manage their team
    looking after the business side of the dental office.


of a Dentist – 30 Qualities that Make Him Apart

of dental hygienist

  • Taking the history of oral health issues
    before the dentist examines the patient.

  • He
    cleans the mouth for hygiene.
  • He
    removes stains, tartar and plaque from the mouth.
  • He
    suggests diet and lifestyle changes to patients for good oral health.
  • Identifies
    dental health issues like tooth decay, gum disease or other oral issues and
    communicates the same to the dentist.
  • He
    takes an X-ray and gives a background of the issue to the dentist.
  • He
    documents the instructions and prescription of the dentist and decipher it to
    the patient.
  • A
    dental hygienist is also a part of the office of emergency dentist where he helps
    patient get the treatment right.


is another factor where there is a marked difference between a dentist and a
dental hygienist.

per data from the US Bureau of Labor Statistics the average median pay of a
dentist in 2021 was $163,220 per year or $78.47 per hour.

the other hand, the average median pay of the dentist hygienist for the same
period was $77,810 per year or $37.41 per hour.


per US Bureau of Labor Statistics, the job outlook for the dentist for 2021-31
is 6%.

the other hand, the job outlook of dental hygienists for the same period is 9%,
which is 3% higher than the of dentists.

Reasons to visit a dental hygienist

should I visit a dental hygienist? Is visiting a dental hygienist worth it? Is
visiting a dental hygienist all that important? Here we give you the top
reasons why should you visit a dental hygienist.

Want healthy gums? Visit a dental hygienist

gums and healthy teeth go together. But sometimes people get gum disease which
is caused by bacteria. Gum disease is caused by plaque, a form of bacteria, and
if left untreated it may lead to further complications and loosening of teeth
sockets and finally loss of teeth.

a dental hygienist removes the plaque and tartar and saves you from further

whiter teeth? Visit a dental hygienist

foods, beverage and tobacco products leave stains on teeth that diminishes our
looks. But you don’t have to worry as these stains can be removed by scaling
and polishing. A dental hygienist is experienced in doing this. Seek an
appointment with a dental hygienist to get shining white teeth.

with bad breath? Visit a dental hygienist

breath is not only a menace to you but to everyone around you. Bad breath is a
clear sign of bad oral hygiene. Sometimes pieces of food get stuck in small
cavities of teeth. If these are not removed in time, the formation of bacteria
starts resulting to bad breath. Your dental hygienist cleans your mouth,
suggest medicines and educates you on how to keep away the bad breath.

early detection of oral disease? Visit a dentist

say a stitch in time saves nine. The same applies with oral health issues. Here
diseases if diagnosed in infancy can be treated and stopped from getting
bigger. On a visit to a dental hygienist, you may expect to examine your teeth
for early signs of cancer, tooth decay and ill-fit fillings.

to get rid of tooth sensitivity? Visit a dentist

of us suffer from teeth sensitivity that keeps us away from eating certain
foods. A dental hygienist is better equipped to find the reasons behind it. it
may be happening due to gum recession or tooth wear. A dental hygienist may
advise you on how to brush and what to eat to keep the sensitivity in check.

 Top qualities of a dental hygienist

patients are wise. So, while visiting a hygienist, they look for whether they
are competent or not. But how can you find them? There are certain traits that
make a perfect hygienist. Look whether your dental hygienist has all or most of
these qualities.

are patient

a dental hygienist, you have to deal with a lot of challenging people. There
are patients who are afraid of coming to the office. Here as a dental
hygienist, you have to make them comfortable so that the treatment can be
completed without any disruption. A dental hygienist makes a patient
comfortable by explaining to him the procedures.

educate patients

patients is one of the important qualities of a dental hygienist. A good dental
hygienist has to educate their patient about how to maintain good oral health.
He educates the patient about good dental habits and what to eat and how.

are detail-oriented

dentist requires to be very detail-oriented. As he has to work in a very small
space, their attention to detail helps them work with precision. Even the
smallest of error on his part can create further problems.

have manual dexterity

dexterity is one of the major traits of a successful dental hygienist. Because
manual dexterity helps them work effectively while doing dental cleaning or

They should be hardworking

dental hygienist has to perform a lot of functions like cleaning teeth, taking
history, doing X-rays, and playing several other roles. So, a dental hygienist
should be hardworking as he has walk throughout the day.


Dentist – How to Hire the Right Child Dentist

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