Dental Education Australia

eden education is an online dental education site

Benefits of Having a Dental Hygienist in Your Practice

When dentists are looking around for ways to improve the efficiency of their practice and increase customer satisfaction, they should consider adding more dental hygienist hours to their payroll. A dental hygienist is an important addition to a practice because he can assume more duties than a dental assistant or dental technician. That’s because a registered dental hygienist, or RDH, has a post secondary degree and is licensed by a state board to perform many dental tasks, not just routine cleanings. An RDH frees up the dentist to focus on dental procedures and surgeries. With a well-conceived combination of dentists, hygienists, and dental assistants, a dental practice can grow to accommodate more patients per day in a streamlined office environment.

According to the American Dental Hygienists’ Association (ADHA), a dental hygienist functions as a co-therapist of the dentist in a modern practice. In the busy office environment, a dentist counts on a hygienist to make a diagnosis of a patient’s dental hygiene, write a treatment plan, explain it to the patient, and carry out the plan. In this way, the dentist can be assured that her patients are getting proper oral care while getting technical support from a technician during oral surgeries. When needed, dentists and hygienists can discuss common concerns about patients, such as advanced cleanings, oral prevention, appropriate treatments, and restorative procedures. Dentists typically depend on the observations of their hygienists to improve the quality of care that they provide to patients.

Dentists must ensure that the scope of their hygienists’ duties conform to state guidelines for RDH clinical practice. This means that dentists won’t ask hygienists to perform tasks that they aren’t permitted to do but can delegate some of their workload. The California Dental Hygienists’ Association describes the professional duties of a dental hygienist, which includes more ways that this profession is essential to a practice. A hygienist helps a dentist by conducting patient screenings, recording medical history, charting procedures, and processing x-rays. She may also give a dental patient a local anesthetic or nitrous oxide, which cuts down on the time the dentist has to spend with a patient at the beginning of an oral surgery

Some dental groups operate more than one office, and their dentists can count on staff hygienists to be mentors to technicians and patients. A dynamic hygienist can serve as an expert member of the dental team, coaching dental technicians as they develop more skills and technical knowledge. They can also diagnose periodontal disease and provide advance treatments and difficult cleanings, such as scraping out plaque and cleaning out hard-to-reach pockets filled with bacteria below the gum line. A hygienist’s talents are important to have available when dentists are not always in the office.

With some careful thought, dentists can decide how to best use hygienists to lighten the workload or all others in the practice. Depending on state regulations, hygienists may be able to see some patients independently, especially just for cleanings. They can also spend more time on patient education, which helps patients to prevent many oral health problems. Using their imaginations, dentists can create a better workflow that benefits everyone, easing patients’ minds about the whole dental experience.

For more information please visit: Dental Education