What is a Dental Hygienist?

What is the Hygienist’s Role in Dental Practice?

Hygienists perform four main functions:

1. Teaching patients oral hygiene techniques on an individual basis. This one-on-one instruction includes care for your gums and teeth, and advice on a healthy diet to prevent dental disease.

2. Evaluation, assessment, and treatment of your periodontal (gum) tissue, including x-ray discussion and review of medical history.

3. Scaling and polishing of teeth as well as a wide variety of whitening treatments.

4. Application of decay prevention agents.

 

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Dental Hygienist vs Dentist - what's the difference?

At Carnegie Dental Group, we believe that your overall dental health is best managed by seeing different members of our dental team. Each practitioner has their own set of skills which cater to a wide variety of patients. Dental Hygienists in Australia hold a Bachelor of Oral Health degree or an Advanced Diploma in Dental Hygiene which typically takes around three years of university education. Dentists undertake more complex training (typically at least five years at university level) and this allows them to be able to perform a wider and more complex range of dental treatments.

In general, dentists will spend more of their time providing restorative treatment whilst dental hygienists will provide treatment with more of a preventative nature. Their time is specifically dedicated to preventing oral diseases especially gum (periodontal) disease which includes an assessment of your gums, teeth and mouth. They have special tools and techniques in order to carry out their specific tasks and are able to treat within their scope of practice.

It is common for the dental hygienist to work in collaboration with the dentist which means that your appointments may overlap. Many of our patients enjoy their dental hygiene appointments as the Hygienist not only performs a thorough cleaning of the teeth and gums, they also provide a wider range of treatments. As part of their role within the dental team, they are the ones who usually carry out most of the teeth whitening procedures, placing fissure sealants to prevent decay, addressing halitosis (bad breath) and will often spend time to go through customised home care regimes for their patients.

Most of our patients here at Carnegie Dental Group have their dental care managed by both a dentist and a dental hygienist, with the dentist as the head of the dental team. Together, they will work with you to provide a schedule that meets your needs and help you to achieve optimum oral health.