If an apple a day keeps the doctor away, then regularly visiting a dental hygienist will keep cavities at bay. The only issue is that up to 60 percent of all adults fail to consult with their dentist due to anxiety or simply as a result of a busy lifestyle.
Unfortunately, this struggle could come at a steep price in terms of long-term oral health. Why is it crucial to schedule appointments at least twice a year and what advantages can dental hygienists offer?
The Crucial Role of a Dental Hygienist Treatment
Dental hygienists are focused on preventative measures (such as detecting the early stages of gum disease), removing plaque, cleaning teeth and providing advice, including which foods to avoid and proper oral care techniques.
We can now see that a dental hygienist may be viewed as a key role in maintaining overall oral health. While not all dental practices employ hygienists, these roles have become commonplace in recent times (especially in larger dental firms that cater to multiple patients on a regular basis).
Hygienists can also act as “go-between” in terms of the patient and the dentist. For instance, a patient might choose to discuss an issue that they may be having with their teeth and gums. These details can then be passed on to the dentist so that the appropriate actions are taken.
Children and Adults Alike
Hygienists are trained to the highest of standards and in many ways, their skill sets can mirror those often attributed to a dentist. This partially results from the sheer number of their duties. Some common examples include:
- Taking x-rays.
- Applying topical fluoride treatments.
- Whitening teeth.
- Sealing superficial cracks or fissures on the surface of the tooth.
Note that these specialists can sometimes have additional responsibilities. This will partially depend upon where they happen to be located as well as their unique qualifications.
From dealing with a child experiencing teething pains — to an adult who wishes to brighten up their smile — hygienists are able to handle it all.
Truly Specialised Roles
Would it not make more sense for a dentist to perform these very same procedures? There are two reasons why a dental hygienist treatment is the best alternative.
As mentioned earlier, hygienists can help to deal with a hectic workload while providing a level of specialised attention that might not be possible otherwise.
Another point is that hygienists tend to focus upon specific skills (such as scaling and polishing your teeth). A hygienist might even be more efficient than a dentist, as they perform these tasks on a daily basis.
Another issue involves patients who are afraid of common treatments that a hygienist may perform. This is clinically known as “dental phobia” and it is more common than some readers may believe.
Thanks to the experience provided by a hygienist, common cleanings will normally not result in any type of pain. In the rare event that a patient experiences mild discomfort, a hygienist may apply a pain-numbing cream such as Lidocaine.
Were you aware that more than 25 percent of children will develop at least one cavity by the age of five? Not only is this a disturbing statistic, but it can sometimes predict more serious problems later in life.
Some parents believe that a young child’s oral care is not important as baby teeth will eventually fall out. However, improper oral care in these early years can negatively impact adult teeth well before they emerge.
Dental hygienists have received extensive training when dealing with children. Not only will they be able to identify any potential issues, but they also develop a rapport with younger patients – which makes it much less likely that the child will experience dental phobia as they approach adolescence and adulthood.
Hygienists will also make it a point to explain specific procedures, as children are naturally curious. Common tasks include standard cleanings and fluoride treatments.
Children may need a special protective coating on the rear (permanent) molars once they have fully erupted. This will help to protect tooth surfaces from mechanical damage as the child continues to grow.
More than In-House Treatments Alone
We should once again reinforce the point that hygienists will often provide lifestyle advice in terms of adopting the right oral care habits.
Quitting cigarettes, cutting back on sugary foods, brushing with a soft-bristled toothbrush, knowing the first signs of a cavity, and appreciating the importance of flossing are some everyday examples.
After all, the best way to guarantee a healthy smile is to adopt a preventative mindset as opposed to relying upon the skills of a dentist alone.
Be Proud to Show Off Those Pearly Whites!
We can now appreciate why dental hygienists can be considered the “unsung heroes” of the dental community. These professionals been vetted to the highest of standards. They can provide a host of targeted solutions based around the discrete needs of each patient.
When was the last time that you scheduled an appointment with your dentist or hygienist? If at least six months have elapsed, it is crucial to confirm a visit sooner instead of later. An ounce of prevention will go a long way and dental hygienists are always there to help.