Hey Winter Haven, have you ever sat in a dental chair, enjoyed a little small talk, got your teeth cleaned and polished, thought, “Was that the dentist? Was that a Dental Tech?” Well, allow us to brush away any confusion. In honor of Dental Hygiene Month, let’s take a moment to recognize and celebrate the role of Dental Hygienists in keeping our mouths healthy.
Dental Hygienists at Smiles of Winter Haven: The Backstory
A Dental Hygienist isn’t someone who just decided one day to take up cleaning teeth. Oh no, my friend! Have you ever wondered why they seem to know so much about your gums, teeth, and mouth? It’s because these professionals undergo rigorous training and education.
The expertise they bring to Smiles of Winter Haven comes from comprehensive training and education. They typically complete an associate degree in dental hygiene, and many continue on to earn bachelor’s or master’s degrees. And let’s not forget about that tough licensing exam they have to pass!
A Day in a Life of a Dental Hygienist: So Much More than Tooth Polishing
Beyond cleaning your teeth, Dental Hygienists play an essential role in your dental care and even your general health care. It would not be a stretch to say you can think of them as guardians of your oral and systemic health.
It may seem to you like the Hygienist is focused only on cleaning your teeth but in fact they are on the lookout for signs of gum disease as well as other diseases or abnormalities. Your Dental Hygienist is on the front line of your health. Their education and training includes identification of early signs of serious disease that can present in the mouth. They can and do point out such signs when they see them so patients can follow up with the appropriate medical doctor.
When you are in the chair at Smiles of Winter Haven, it may seem like tooth cleaning doesn’t require a great deal of physical effort. But that’s only because a great Hygienist makes it look easy. Dental Hygiene requires a great deal of upper body exertion, especially if tartar and plaque have built up. Let’s put it this way, we don’t recommend challenging your Dental Hygienist to an arm-wrestling match!
Finally, Dental Hygienists educate their patients on how to play their part in maintaining a healthy mouth. They demonstrate proper cleaning techniques, point out any areas that are being neglected, and make recommendations for any concerns the patient may bring up. In this way, Hygienists empower their patients to take their oral health into their own hands between visits.
Understanding the Difference Between the Hygienist and the Dental Assistant: One Team, Very Different Roles
We have noticed that patients frequently do not understand the different roles in our office, other than knowing the person with the drill is the dentist. There is often confusion between the Dental Assistant and the Dental Hygienist, with many patients thinking these roles are interchangeable. However, the roles are quite distinct with no overlap in duties. While both are involved in direct patient care, their duties, responsibilities, and areas of expertise are very different.
As the Dentist’s strong right hand, the Dental Assistant plays a crucial role before, during, and after treatment here at our Winter Haven office. They are responsible for ensuring treatment rooms are well-prepared, patients are welcomed and comforted before and during treatment, assisting the dentist during treatment, explaining treatment plans, and if that’s not enough, they also do a great deal behind the scenes to manage equipment, materials, and paperwork to help Smiles of Winter Haven run smoothly. But one thing they never do – clean a patient’s teeth!
So, the next time you lean back in that dental hygiene chair at our Winter Haven office, you’ll know exactly who’s taking care of your teeth and gums. Remember their hard work, dedication, and the important place they hold in maintaining your overall oral health. And while we’re at it, let’s also floss regularly, shall we? They’d appreciate it!