National Dental Hygienist Week is celebrated every year on April 4-10. These licensed oral health professionals assist dentists and play an important role in maintaining good oral hygiene. To appreciate and celebrate this profession, we’re sharing some fun facts about dental hygienists and why their job is so important for our oral and overall health.
About the Job
Dental hygienists are highly trained professionals. To be able to clean a patient’s teeth and assist dentists, you must enroll in and graduate from one of the following:
- A 2 to 3-year advanced diploma program. Most colleges in the Ontario area offer this.
- A bachelor of dental hygiene. This is ideal for dental hygienists who would like to teach dental hygiene one day.
- A private dental hygiene college program.
After completing either an accredited dental hygiene diploma or a bachelor program, dental hygienists must either be registered or licensed. This is done by the dental hygiene regulatory authority in whichever provincial or territorial jurisdiction they reside.
Then, the dental hygienist is able to begin working alongside dentists and assisting with everything from polishing your teeth to applying fluoride treatments.
How Dental Hygienists Help With Your Oral Hygiene
In addition to the once or twice a year cleanings and basic exams, dental hygienists help maintain your oral hygiene by:
- Taking X-rays of your teeth
- Taking dental impressions
- Doing scaling and root planning
- Placing pit and fissure sealants
- Administering local anesthetic
They Don’t Just Clean Teeth
Dental hygienists are not just important for maintaining oral health. They play an important role in your overall health as well. As part of your oral exam, your dental hygienist will check for gum disease or signs of oral cancer. Some signs of diseases ranging from diabetes to lupus can show up in your mouth, so dental hygienists also look for indications or abnormalities.
Where Dental Hygienists Work
To assist a wide range of individuals, dental hygienists can be found not only in private practices, but also working independently with a dental team or in:
- Nursing homes
- Long-term care facilities
- Public health clinics
- Educational institutions
- Correctional institutions
- A patient’s home
Did You Know?
Now that you know a bit more about dental hygienists, here are a few fun facts that you might not know about this profession:
- In Canada, dental hygienists are the sixth-largest regulated health profession.
- Dental hygienists often use innovative approaches to dental care.
- This occupation is one of the fastest-growing professions.
- Dental hygiene is often very flexible. In fact, some hygienists work part-time.
Contact Dental Choice for Your Next Appointment
When it’s time for your cleaning, we invite you to contact Dental Choice. Your dental hygienist in Edmonton or Calgary looks forward to helping you maintain your oral and overall health. If you have any questions or would like to set up an appointment, please reach out to us!
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