1. Dental hygienists talk to patients to ensure that they practice proper oral care and hygiene. They give instructions on how to floss and do basic regimen to keep gums and teeth healthy.
2. Take x-ray shots and develop films. Sometimes, they are also authorized to interpret and convey their impressions on the x-ray result.
3. They do routine teeth cleaning, apply fluoride, perform scaling, remove stains and calculus, and execute other techniques that are necessary in the conduct of prophylactic dental care.
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What is the scope of a dental hygienist’s responsibility?
While they work under the general supervision of dentists in providing oral health, dental hygienists generally work with autonomy. They have a set of delegated responsibilities that they perform quite independently.
1. A first visit usually involves an exhaustive clinical and historical evaluation.
There will be history-taking, recording of vital signs, inspection of head and neck, taking and interpreting x-ray shots, observation for periodontal diseases, and dental charting. Casting might be done to study the patient’s oral cavity more closely. Screening for oral cancer may also be recommended if there are indications that point to it, even remotely.
2. Diagnosis is usually offered after the initial visit.
For most cases, diagnosis immediately follows the evaluation within the first visit. There are cases, however, which may delay the diagnosis. This happens when there is need for more detailed procedures and screening, and when something suspicious comes up.
3. A customized plan is drawn out based on the diagnosis.
Dental care and hygiene is not having a tooth extracted and it ends there. Dental hygiene is a long-term care regimen which involves two active players – the dental hygienist and the patient. The hygienist and the patient draw out a plan with the objective of bringing about optimum health condition for the patient.
4. The dental hygienist is responsible for carrying out the clinical part of the plan.
It must be understood that the plan includes both the clinical aspect and the homecare aspect. The hygienist makes sure that the patient fully understands and sticks to the home regimen. The scheduled treatment is then implemented, and this may include plaque removal, scaling, and periodontal disorder treatment.
5. Conduct evaluation of treatment plan’s efficacy and reevaluation of diagnosis, if there is a need.
Sometimes, there are emergent conditions that appear midway after the plan is carried out that impact on the treatment plan. These could indicate that the plan is not an applicable one for the patient. This is when evaluation is critical and when another treatment might be worth considering.
The job of a hygienist might not be the easiest or the best job in the world. But it could be, for the right person.