For many of us, when we think of our oral health, our first and last thought is of our dentist, but behind every healthy smile, there is a team that consists of not just the dentist, but also dental assistants and dental hygienists. But what exactly does a dental hygienist do?
Here are some of the ways that a great dental hygienist can help improve your smile.
Cleanings and More
Your dental hygienist performs a variety of procedures to help maintain your oral health. In fact, you will probably spend more time with your hygienist than with your dentist. Your visit to the dentist’s office usually begins with the hygienist, who counts the following among their duties:
- Cleaning/Deep Cleanings. A typical cleaning will involve the removal of plaque, bacterial toxins, and tartar both above and below the gumline. A deep cleaning goes a step further to smooth out the rough spots on root surfaces, which helps keep tartar, plaque, and other bacteria from reappearing under the gumline, and helps the gums heal.
As the hygienist cleans your teeth, they are also on the lookout for any abnormalities in the mouth’s soft tissue, such as sores, lumps, or swelling. This examination helps to spot what might become a more serious issue.
- Fluoride Treatments. Fluoride is a naturally occurring mineral that can help to rebuild tooth enamel and reverse early signs of tooth decay. Professional fluoride treatments might be in the form of a gel placed in a tray that is held in the mouth for a few moments or a varnish that is swabbed or brushed onto the tooth.
- X-Rays. Your dental hygienist can take x-rays of your teeth, bones, and the soft tissue around them. These are used to check for various dental problems such as cavities and bone loss. X-rays are also useful for monitoring jaw and tooth formation in adolescents. If you are experiencing pain or discomfort, they can help determine if wisdom teeth or other factors are causing the pain.
- Making Impressions. Dental hygienists can make impressions of patient’s teeth for study casts. These are models used by the dentist to evaluate the treatments needs of the patient.
Although your dental hygienist can give you that “just-cleaned” feeling of slick, smooth teeth, they can only do so much, even with regular visits. Much of the upkeep work is in your hands. Brushing and flossing daily are up to you, but your hygienist can help by evaluating how well you are performing your daily regimen and offering tips and advice for improvement.
Don’t be fooled into thinking that a dental hygienist is there just to clean your teeth. They are an integral part of your oral care team, assessing your overall dental health and helping to locate signs of tooth decay and gum disease. In short, they help to keep you healthy and improve your smile!
Book an appointment or speak with a professional at Kherani Dental at Aspen by calling us at 403-263-0055.Leave a reply