Dental hygienists use preventive, educational and therapeutic methods for controlling oral diseases to help individual patients and groups achieve and maintain oral health.
Duties & Tasks
Dental hygienists may perform the following tasks:
- assess and record oral health conditions and plan treatments
- educate, counsel and provide instruction for people of all ages, as well as other healthcare professionals, on oral health and hygiene, plaque control and nutrition
- remove deposits and stains from teeth by scaling, root debridement and tooth polishing
- identify and apply prevention strategies and control mechanisms for dental caries (decay) and periodontal (gum) disease
- select and use appropriate fluoride treatments, and polish tooth restorations
- apply professional tooth whitening agents
- place temporary dental restorations
- expose, process and interpret dental X-rays
- take impressions of patients' mouths for the construction of study casts, mouthguards and orthodontic appliances
- carry out orthodontic procedures that do not initiate tooth movement (such as band sizing and selection or bonding of fixed retainers)
- apply and remove periodontal dressings and rubber dams
- stabilise teeth affected by gum disease
- select and administer pain control techniques, including local anaesthesia
- remove dental sutures (stitches)
- instruct patients on looking after their teeth and mouth after operations.
Dental hygienists may work in a team with other dental practitioners.
- good hand-eye coordination
- able to perform precise and detailed work
- good problem-solving skills
- good communication skills
- interest in healthcare work
- able to work as part of a team.