What is a Dental Hygienist?
A dental hygienist is a licensed primary oral health care professional.
The dental hygienist is a clinician, oral health educator, health promoter,
consumer advocate, administrator, and researcher. The goal of dental hygiene
is to assist individuals in achieving and maintaining optimal oral health.
A wide range of settings is available for the practice of a dental hygienist,
such as private dental offices, community clinics, hospitals, chronic
care facilities, public health departments, educational institutions and
Dental hygienists are regulated by state legislation. Generally the responsibilities
of a dental hygiene clinician include the development, implementation
and evaluation of a dental hygiene plan of care based on the client's
- Assessment: i.e. examining, assessing, and documenting
oral conditions including those of the head and neck region
through the use of clinical measurements, radiographs and other
- Development of individualized oral hygiene programs for home care;
- Development of a professional dental hygiene plan of care to meet
the client's needs;
- Diet analysis and counseling for dental caries control and prevention;
- Educating clients regarding oral health planning;
- Conducting oral health programs in the community.
- Implementation: i.e. non- surgical periodontal therapy
(removing disease-related deposits on the tooth surface such
as plaque and calculus as well as unsightly tooth stains for
cosmetic purposes) applying decay preventing agents such as
fluoride and sealants.
- Evaluation: i.e. evaluating the success of a home care
oral hygiene program evaluating the dental hygiene plan of care
and with the client's satisfaction of that care plan.