October is National Dental Hygiene Month, and at my dental office in Chicago we’re going to take a moment to recognize our hygienists for all the hard work that they do, the variety of services they provide to patients, and their wealth of dental knowledge.
Did you know hygienists have excellent training and education to help teach patients about the importance of keeping teeth healthy and clean? Most hygienists attend local community colleges, technical colleges, dental schools, or university programs. Typically after two years of schooling, hygienists earn an associate degree and then take a state, local, or regional licensing test. Some hygienists choose to attend four-year degree program too!
At my Chicago dental office, we see so many patients who have a lot of great questions about their oral health. That’s where hygienists are so helpful! Hygienists are usually a dentist’s right-hand person, helping to treat teeth and tell patients all about the importance of keeping teeth healthy. Depending on what state a hygienist works in, their duties around the office could vary. Here are just a few of the fun things they do:
1) Making Teeth Clean – To get teeth looking and feeling great, most hygienists will give your smile a good cleaning by scraping away tartar and plaque from surface of all teeth.
2) Learning All About Patients – Hygienists are usually responsible for talking with patients to get an oral health assessment, reviewing health history, performing an oral cancer screening, and taking blood pressure.
3) Serving Up Healthy Tips – Hygienists are also really good at speaking with patients about the importance of good nutrition and how it relates to maintaining excellent oral and overall health.
4) Prevention Intervention – During a checkup and cleaning, hygienists may also apply fluoride or sealants to teeth to help keep acids, bacteria, and cavities from damaging teeth.
5) Making An Impression That Lasts – If an impression of a patient’s teeth needs to be made in order to better determine what treatment may be appropriate for them, hygienists can help. Many hygienists are trained and qualified to take impressions, and keep patients comfortable during the process.
When you visit the dentist in Chicago, we hope you give your hygienist a high five for all they they do to keep you and your teeth healthy. Hygienists truly care about your oral and overall health. If you have questions, don’t hesitate to ask. Hygienists are always happy to help!