Dental hygiene

A registered dental hygienist (RDH) is a licensed dental professional who specializes in preventive oral health, typically focusing on techniques in oral hygiene. Local dental regulations determine the scope of practice of dental hygienists. In most jurisdictions, hygienists work for a dentist, and some are licensed to administer local anesthesia. Common procedures performed by hygienists include cleanings known as prophylaxis, scaling and root planing for patients with periodontal disease, taking of prescribed radiographs, dental sealants, administration of fluoride, and providing instructions for proper oral hygiene and care. The dental hygiene process of care has five steps:
  • Assessing the patient: This includes, but is not limited to, a full review of the patient's medical history, necessary x-rays to be taken, a clinical exam, and a periodontal assessment by probing and exploring areas of the patients mouth. During this stage a thorough documentation must be implemented.
  • Dental hygiene diagnosis: Assessing of data pertaining to a client's condition/state in terms that will help identify problems so as to lead to a professional treatment plan/ therapies. The final diagnosis of disease and/or treatments solely lies with jurisdiction and/or approval granted by the doctor.
  • Planning: creating a sequential treatment plan for the patient. The treatment plan will vary based on the patient's immediate needs.
  • Implementation: Carrying out the plan in a timely and effective manner.
  • Evaluation: Determining the effectiveness of the treatment plan that was administered. If ineffective a complete evaluation on how to approach the patient's needs differently Over a period of months or years, a dental hygienist may evaluate the client's conditions several times, altering the diagnosis and plan as the client's condition changes.
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