How Well Do You Know Your Dental Hygienist?

There is probably a lot you don’t know about your dental hygienist. Are you aware of how educated they are and what a typical day is like for them? To help you better get to know your hygienist and to celebrate National Dental Hygiene Month, we have summarized a terrific article written by Sarah Clark, RDH, IPDH in the Coastal Journal called, “10 Things You Probably Don’t Know About Your Dental Hygienist.” You might just be surprised.

1. Hygienists are highly educated. The degrees of a dental hygienist vary from an associate’s degree to a master’s degree. In addition, associate’s degrees often take 3 to 4 years to obtain. And regardless of degree level, all hygienists are required to pass board exams to earn a license to practice. Furthermore, hygienists are required to receive a set amount of continuing education hours in order to renew their license every two years.

2. Hygienists take many licensing exams. Dental hygienists often take 3 to 5 different board exams to get their license, unlike the many other medical fields that take only one exam. These exams are both written and practical and are usually particular to one’s geographical location.

3. Hygienists are medical professionals. Hygienists are required to know the same science as other medical professionals in order to help you manage your health needs. They help treat, prevent and screen you for systemic and health-related diseases, such as performing blood pressure checks, cancer screenings, medication reviews and more.

4. A hygienist’s job is very hard on their body. Hygienists constantly strain their backs, necks and shoulders in the course of a work day. They are greatly helped when you lay all the way down in the dental chair and when you move your head to the positions that are asked of you (unless of course a medical condition prevents this).

5. Hygienists constantly battle with the clock. Hygienists have a lot to do in the time that they are given. In addition, while they work very hard to stay on schedule, sometimes factors beyond their control cause them to run behind. These include a late patient, a patient with many questions, or a patient who needs more complex care. It is not unusual for hygienists to work into their lunch break and to arrive early to work and leave late in order to be prepared.

6. Hygienists make recommendations based on your needs. When hygienists recommend things to you, they do so because they are seeking to provide for your specific needs. They take into consideration both their in-depth knowledge and what you in particular need. These specific recommendations may include x-rays, fluoride treatments, toothbrush recommendations and much more.

7. Hygienists want your experience to be comfortable and stress free. Hygienists want you to let them know how you could be more comfortable. They can offer numbing relief, pillows, and other options to help make this possible.

8. Hygienists like to connect with you. Hygienists are in the people business, and as such, they enjoy getting to know you and growing closer to you over time. And one of the wonderful things about the field is that hygienists get to walk with you through the joys and trials of life. This is a wonderful aspect of the profession.

Now that you have gotten to better know your hygienist, it is probably safe to say that they are better educated and more qualified than you imagined, they do more than you think they do during appointments, they work harder than you thought and they care more about you than maybe you previously assumed. In summary, your hygienist is pretty awesome!!! Remember to thank them for all that they do during this National Dental Hygiene Month!



“10 Things You Probably Don’t Know About Your Dental Hygienist” –