GETTING TO KNOW YOUR DENTAL HYGIENIST
You probably know your dentist's name, but what about the name of your dental hygienist? You may not think about them too much, but a dental hygienist is very important to your oral health. Before your next visit to your dentist in Austin, TX, learn about what your dental hygienist does and how they can help you take better care of your smile. At Meadows Dental Care, we are proud to have several dental hygienists who are wonderful at working with patients of all ages. Well-educated and compassionate, a great dental hygienist can make sure that you have a positive experience when you visit the dentist and make sure you keep coming back for regular cleanings and oral health examinations.
WHAT A DENTAL HYGIENIST DOES
When you visit your dentist in Austin, TX, most of your appointment will be completed by your dental hygienist. They take x-rays, check your oral health, clean your teeth, and work with you to improve your home oral routine. As long as you don't have any major issues, you'll probably spend more time with your dental hygienist than your dentist. If you're nervous or have fears about going to the dentist (dentophobia), tell your dental hygienist. They can walk you through what will happen during your oral health examination and cleaning so you aren't surprised. They can also stop for frequent breaks and work in smaller sections to help keep you relaxed and comfortable.
- FLUORIDE TREATMENTS
Fluoride treatments are highly recommended for younger patients, but older patients may also request them. If you are getting a professional fluoride treatment, your dental hygienist will typically perform it after your cleaning and oral health examination in the flavor of your choice. Your dental hygienist will time the treatment and help you get through it if you're nervous. Afterward, your dental hygienist will let you know how long you should wait before eating or drinking.
- EDUCATING PATIENTS
There's no such thing as a dumb question. Dental hygienists have heard it all. If you have any questions or concerns, bring them up with your dental hygienist. Tell your dental hygienist if your gums bleed when you brush or if you're experiencing tooth sensitivity. They can answer questions about chronic bad breath or help you decide if you want to get a cosmetic treatment like teeth whitening.
- BI-ANNUAL CLEANINGS
No one is perfect when it comes to their oral hygiene. Maybe you don't brush as often or as long as you should. This is why your dental hygienist takes the time to deep clean your enamel at least twice a year. Your dental hygienist will carefully remove built-up plaque and tartar from your enamel using special tools. Once your enamel is clean, your dental hygienist will polish your enamel to remove stains. This helps brighten and strengthen your smile.
- TAKING DIGITAL X-RAYS
At least once a year, you should get digital x-rays to help your dental team better evaluate the health of your mouth. Your dental hygienist will typically take these at the start of your appointment. Digital x-rays usually only take a few minutes and use minimal radiation as a small sensor is placed between your teeth while the dental hygienist captures the images. Every few years, you may need a full mouth series of digital x-rays. Your dental hygienist will help position you in the machine, which will rotate around you as you stand still. A full mouth series of x-rays helps your dental team check the health of your gums and jaw.
- ORAL HEALTH SCREENINGS
Throughout your cleaning, your dental hygienist will perform an oral health examination. A dental hygienist looks for signs of decay (cavities), gum disease, and oral cancer. If they find any areas of concern, your dental hygienist will talk to your dentist so they can diagnose the problem and talk about your treatment options.
- ADVICE ON HOME ORAL CARE
During your visits, your dental hygienist can help answer your questions about brushing and flossing technique. It's important that you are both cleaning your teeth often enough (twice a day) and doing it correctly. Your dental hygienist can also recommend products, like a particular toothpaste or mouthwash. After your cleaning, they can also point out areas of your teeth that you may want to pay more attention to at home if there's a lot of buildup.
DENTAL HYGIENIST TRAINING AND EDUCATION
To become a dental hygienist, a person will need to complete at least a two-year higher education program after high school in dental hygiene. Some hygienists choose to get a bachelor's or even a master's degree in dental hygiene. Most states require dental hygienists to attend a dental hygiene education program approved by the Commission on Dental Accreditation (CODA). After this, they can take the National Board Dental Hygiene Examination. If they pass, they will be a Registered Dental Hygienist (RDH). After this, most states require dental hygienists to take a minimum number of continuing education courses every year or every few years to renew their license. In short, your dental hygienist worked hard to get their job and they continue to learn about the newest tools and techniques so they can better help you and your family.
VISIT A DENTAL HYGIENIST IN Austin, TX TODAY
Now that you know more about the important role dental hygienists play in improving your oral health, contact a dental practice in Austin, TX to schedule an oral health examination and cleaning for yourself and your whole family. Hopefully, you'll be more aware of how hard your dental hygienist is working and learn more about him or her. If you're looking for a great dental practice with skilled dental hygienists, we would love to schedule an appointment for you at Meadows Dental Care.