Many of the fundamental functions such as tooth cleaning that we experience in a typical visit to your Seattle Dentist or Bellevue Dentist are performed by a dental hygienist. A Registered Dental Hygienist (RDH), is a professional licensed by the state and is trained in preventative dental care. It is important to remember that hygienists are not dentists and cannot diagnose dental diseases. However, they are frequently used to note potential areas of concern in the mouth for the Seattle Dentist or Bellevue Dentist during patient office visits for preventative dentistry.
With an RDH degree and license, hygienists specialize in the removal of plaque and calculus, which are materials that collect and build up around and on teeth. Additionally, hygienists aide your dentist in the treatment of diseased gum tissue. Dental hygienists typically do regular teeth cleaning, periodontal scaling and x–rays. Additionally, in some dental offices, dental hygienists may do sealants and fluoride treatments on children. However, many Seattle Family Dentists or Bellevue Family Dentists do the x–rays as well as teeth cleaning for their patients without utilizing a dental hygienist. This would of course depend upon the number of patients that they have. Oral examinations diagnosis of disease, and cosmetic and restorative dental work, such as fillings, crowns, bridges, veneers, orthodontia and various other treatments that require specific dental training, are carried out directly by the dentist and cannot be legally performed by dental hygienists. Most dental hygiene training programs are much shorter duration than the education required to become a Seattle Dentist or Bellevue Dentist.
The teaching of good oral health including the relationship of proper diet is another specialty of dental hygienists. Oral health needs often vary at different stages of life, and it is the dental hygienist’s job to instruct patients about any special needs or oral health requirements as different life situations occur. Courses on dental hygiene for children or pregnant women may be taught by a hygienist at a hospital or at a dental office.
Dental hygiene is a very rewarding experience. Dental hygienists take part in helping patients learn to be aware of their own dental health, thus helping them avoid future visits to their Seattle Family Dentists or Bellevue Family Dentists for costly procedures that might become necessary. Most states have dental hygiene schools. As with dental school, admittance to hygiene schools is difficult and very competitive with each school receiving many more applications than there are positions available.