• Dental Hygienist and Dental Assistant - What's the Difference?

Dental Hygienist and Dental Assistant – What’s the Difference?

A dental office depends heavily on the services of dental assistants and dental hygienists to make each patient’s treatment session as relaxed and comfortable as possible, as well as provide valuable assistance to the dentist. What’s the difference between each position and what are their duties? Read on to find out.

Dental Assistants

Dental assistants are the friendly face that greets you when you leave the reception area of a dental office and head back to a treatment room for your dental visit with the doctor for treatment. After making sure you are comfortable, they will review the treatment you are scheduled to do with you and answer any questions you may have about the procedures.

Dental assistants may ask questions about your medical history, review the consent forms for treatment with you and take and monitor your blood pressure throughout the appointment. They may take dental x-rays or intra oral photo’s for the dentist to examine to determine the state of your oral health and your course of treatment if additional treatment is needed. The dental assistant will prepare and lay out all equipment the dentist will require and also make sure every instrument is clean and sterilized. If needed, they will also make models or casts of your teeth for a diagnostic tool to plan your treatment.

If a tooth needs a filling, dental assistants will help the dentist with the procedure, making sure he has each item for every step allowing him to maintain focus on you. After the dentist has filled the tooth, the dental assistant will mark your teeth with a blue paper to help the dentist make sure your bite is the same you walked in with. The dentist then inspects the work and asks questions to make sure the patient is satisfied with the results of the treatment. When your dental visit is complete, the dental assistant will clean up any remaining blue marks on your teeth, offer you Advil and water before your anesthesia wears off, direct you to the bathroom where we have face wipes so you have no traces of having a dental procedure done and then escort you back to the front desk to schedule future appointments and allow the front desk to finish checking you out.

After a patient visit, a dental assistant will sterilize the treatment room, properly disposing of all contaminated waste, sterilize all instruments used in your procedure and ready the room for the next patient. Between patient visits, they will check the dental inventory and order any necessary supplies.

When it’s time for your regular teeth cleaning, you will meet with a dental hygienist. The hygienist will make a careful examination of your teeth, gums and mouth, looking for any problems such as receding gums, oral diseases or tooth problems.

Dental Hygienists

When it’s time for your regular teeth cleaning, you will meet with a dental hygienist. The hygienist will make a careful examination of your teeth, gums and mouth, looking for any problems such as receding gums, oral diseases or tooth problems. If a hygienist needs more information to diagnose an oral health issue, they may take x-rays or intra oral photos of your teeth, jaw and surrounding tissues for the Dentist to evaluate.

When cleaning teeth, the hygienist will use special dental tools to scrape away stubborn plaque or tartar that regular brushing will not remove. They may use ultrasonic tools and even lasers to clean teeth and get rid of unsightly stains on the tooth enamel. Dental hygienists apply protective fluoride, tooth sealants as well as perform periodontal therapies, such as root planing to remove harmful plaque and calculus below the gum line or scaling of teeth for gum disease.

Dental hygienists instruct their patients how to achieve and maintain good oral health by preventive care. They will advise on the care of dental problems such as receding gums and consult with the dentist on a plan of treatment and ongoing care. Dental hygienists instruct a patient how to choose the right toothpaste, toothbrush and the correct way to floss teeth. They will suggest nutritional guidelines, such as not eating too many sugary foods, to help protect teeth from decay.

Here at Dental Care of Frisco, we’re here for all your oral health needs. We have carefully chosen our Registered Dental Assistants and Registered Dental Hygienist to not only bring you a wealth of experience in your dental care but also a kind and warm person that cares about your experience individually.  Their goal is to make sure each of your visits are pleasant, painless and comfortable.

Give us a call today with any questions you may have or to set up an appointment.

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