A dental hygienist is a health care professional that focuses on the prevention of disease and maintenance of health in the mouth.
They may receive their education and training at a number of different programs; at community colleges, technical colleges, dental schools, or universities. Programs typically run between 2 and 4 years, depending on whether they are receiving an associates or bachelor’s degree. We prefer graduates from the NAU Hygiene program which offers a 4-year bachelor’s degree.
Services provided by dental hygienists include:
-patient health screening, ex: oral health assessment, medical history review, soft and hard tissue oral cancer screening, charting of dental conditions, monitoring blood pressure and pulse rate
-taking dental x-rays (radiographs) for early detection of disease
-dental prophylaxis – the removal of plaque and calculus (calcified plaque)
-direct application of preventative materials, ex: fluoride, sealants, antimicrobial rinses
-educating patients about home care and prevention, ex: brushing, flossing, and the importance of a healthy diet
-taking impressions for diagnostic or educational purposes
-in-office and at-home whitening options