Dental Hygienists Are a Great Resource

cosmetic dentistYou probably don’t think much about the dental hygienist you see at your regular dental visits. You might even say, “Just skip the lecture and get the cleaning over with.” Everyone is in a hurry, but making use of your dental hygienist as an information resource is a smart move.

Dental hygienists receive specialized training in addition to their schooling in the use of hygiene tools and equipment. Anatomy, nutrition and radiology is a big part of the training. A hygienist gets training in dealing with people, addressing their questions and calming their fears in a clinical setting.

Because the training is ongoing, an experienced hygienist will gain expertise in behaviors that can damage your dental health—smoking, dieting, thumb-sucking, pencil chewing, hair chewing, nail biting, drug taking, and eating disorders.

“Of course it is hard to start a conversation about a habit that is embarrassing for you or causing problems” says Dr. Ford from her Phoenix dental office. “No one loves to have those conversations. But both the hygienist and the dentist have extensive training that can make your problem easier to solve or handle.”

While your dentist does the diagnoses and recommends the treatment, your hygienist can handle a lot of the education to make your life easier. Yes, there was a time when the dentist would use stern lectures in the hopes of getting a patient to take better care of their teeth. Those days are over. Dentists, hygienists and you are a team, and every member of that team cares about your teeth and gums as well as your overall health.

The American Dental Association points out that patient education has advantages for both the patient and the hygienist: “One of the most enjoyable aspects of a career in dental hygiene is working with people. Personal fulfillment comes from providing a valuable health care service while establishing trusting relationships with patients.”

The hygienist who makes a recommendation is hoping to keep you healthy and help you break habits that are not in your best interest. “We encourage you to ask any questions while you are here,” says Dr. Ford. “The answers to those questions can improve the quality of your life—and that puts a smile on everyone’s face.”

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