For many people in the UK, visits to the dental hygienist often go overlooked, or substituted for visits to the dentist. Visits to the dental hygienist and the dentist are equally important, as their roles are different.
Visiting the hygienists is essential to keep your gums and teeth in good health, as they will specifically look for signs of gum disease and periodontitis. Their knowledge is angled towards this field and hygienists have varying degrees of experience, for example, some are qualified to perform whitening services as well as sealants. Gum disease is the most common oral hygiene-related condition, affecting 75% of all adults in the UK to some degree or another. Although hygienists do not study for as long as dentists, their knowledge is just as relevant and their services are to be considered in conjunction with that of a dentist.
Some of your hygienist’s roles include:
- Cleaning services – scale and polish.
- Removing plaque and tartar layers that stain your teeth.
- Offering advice such as pointers on nutrition and how it affects your teeth.
- Dental hygienists are qualified to perform certain injections (though not the full range as performed by a dentist).
- Taking and developing X-rays.
- Advice and examples of how to brush and floss correctly. Dental hygienists can also show you which products to use to keep your teeth in tip top shape.
- Carry out tests such as blood pressure.
You should consider your dentist the dental equivalent of your GP. Like GP’s, their knowledge is broad rather than specialised, covering a variety of fields however, some do possess specialist qualifications that centre around one area of dentistry. Dentists work closely with hygienists, overseeing patients’ oral health and to ensure that the advice and information they offer does not clash.
A dentist’s role also comprises dealing with complications with a patient’s cheeks, glands, neck, jaw tongue, nervous system of the neck and head. They also look out for lumps, abscesses discolorations and swellings.
Your dentist will:
- Diagnose oral diseases.
- Offer advice on preventing disease and complications.
- Interpret diagnostic tests and X-rays.
- Oversee the development and growth of jaws and teeth.
- Perform surgical procedures.
- Write out prescriptions.
If you would like to arrange a consultation or appointment with either a dentists of hygienist here at Paul Lowe, please do not hesitate to contact us.