What does a dental hygienist do?

woman brushing her teeth

dental appointment

If you go to a dental practice, you may be told that you need to see the dental hygienist as well. Dental hygienists are key to protecting your overall oral health and seeing a hygienist Richmond has many benefits. Their job is to prevent you developing any serious oral health issues; treating gum disease and educating you on how to take care of your teeth and gums properly by showing you the techniques required to brush and floss properly.

Other services

Hygienists can provide extensive care and work closely with your dentist. They can take X-rays of your mouth, administer fissure sealants, use fluoride varnishes on your teeth, as well as fluoride treatments to protect and clean the teeth. They may also be able to assist with teeth whitening procedures, in accordance with the dentist. They can offer smoking cessation advice, as this is one of the key issues for developing oral health issues. They aim to prevent gingivitis and periodontal disease, which can lead to tooth loss, bad breath, and teeth staining.

What should happen during my appointment with a dental hygienist?

During a hygienist appointment, you should have your mouth examined and your hygienist will be assessing if you need any plaque removal. They will also be looking to see if your oral health is at risk of developing any serious issues. They will also assess your gum health and then they will clean your teeth using specialist equipment and pastes for a ‘scale and polish’. The great thing about seeing a dental hygienist is the fact that they help to prevent you needing fillings, losing any teeth and having bad breath. You could see visiting your hygienist as being a bit like an MOT and service for your mouth!

How often should I see the hygienist?

As a rule of thumb, you may need to see your hygienist every 6 months to a year. However, this will depend on your oral health and you should be advised by your dentist about what is an appropriate treatment plan for your specific needs.

Will I still need to visit the dentist?

If you go to see the dental hygienist, this is a complementary service that should run alongside your routine dental check-ups with your dentist. You will, therefore, still need to see your dentist as well, and they will be able to advise you about how frequently you need to see the dental hygienist based on the examination that they will do of your mouth during a consultation with them. You normally see the hygienist upon the recommendation of your dentist and they will be able to advise if this needs to increase or decrease in its frequency. If you are ever in any doubt about a dental issue and feel you need to seek advice, you should always book in with your dentist for this. If you are unsure, your practice’s receptionists should be able to offer advice about who is the best person to see for your particular situation.

By visiting both the dentist and the hygienist, you should be able to have a healthy and happy smile that you don’t have to worry about – just keep brushing and flossing!


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