When you make an appointment at a large dental clinic, you may find yourself meeting with the dental hygienist rather than the dentist him/herself. Some patients get a surprise as they didn’t realise the two were separate qualifications.
So, what’s the difference?
The profession of dental hygienist has been around a long time but people don’t always fully understand why they’re seeing a hygienist rather than the dentist. What they’re not aware of is that a hygienist goes to university and studies for three or four years to learn solely about oral hygiene and cleaning teeth.
How a hygienist helps your oral hygiene
Dentists go to dental school for five years and only one semester includes the subject of oral hygiene—their focus is more on fixing problems. Where a dentist can see cleaning teeth almost as an inconvenience, a hygienist lives and breathes dental health!
Your oral health should be as much of a priority as fixing a cavity. The person you should see comes down to the skills they have. A dental hygienist is specially trained to clean your teeth, examine your mouth for signs of disease and to prescribe any necessary treatments to prevent dental issues in the future.
Your dental hygienist can remove tartar and plaque from your teeth and apply sealants and fluorides to provide a protective layer. They will also take X-rays to share with your dentist and they may have a chat with you about improving your brushing and flossing techniques.
The role of a dental hygienist is to educate patients on ways to improve and maintain good oral health. Something we have witnessed in our clinic since introducing a dedicated dental hygienist is that the oral health of our patients has increased dramatically.
Prevention is better than cure
The less time you spend with your dentist, the better! Regularly visiting a dental hygienist means you will have a better chance of maintaining your oral health, rather than having to play expensive catch up when things go drastically wrong.
Patients who stick to their regular checkups have a lot less bacteria present in their mouths. They’re less prone to diseases like gingivitis and any cavities that do form can be treated before they get to the point where they require intervention such as root canal or extraction.
Don’t be nervous!
It’s typical for people to fear making that appointment at their local dental clinic! However, generally dental hygienists are gentle, caring people who have a genuine interest in the dental health of all their patients. As mentioned, the more you keep up your appointments, the less likely your visits are to be troublesome or painful.
What’s more, sticking with the same practitioner means you can get to know them on a more personal level. They will develop an understanding of any parts of the checkup process that you find uncomfortable and be able to make every experience as pleasant as possible.
Why not start a new relationship with a dedicated dental hygienist today? Prevent the need for major dental work.