Dental hygienists undergo years of training to prepare for their jobs. That often means that they use words related to their field that you don’t understand. The key terms below will help you understand your dental hygienist better, which could mean that you receive better preventive oral care that will keep your mouth, teeth, and gums healthy.
Periodontal – Periodontology is an area of dentistry that specifically deals diseases and conditions that can affect teeth. You will most likely hear this word when your dentist or hygienist talks to you about ways to prevent diseases such as gingivitis.
Advanced Dental Hygiene Practitioner – The highest level that a dental hygienist can reach in the United States. You might also hear these professionals referred to as dental therapists.
American Dental Hygienists’ Association – An organization that establishes the level of training that hygienists need to offer effective oral health and preventive care to their patients.
Carries – Another word for a dental cavity.
Dental Explorer – A metal instrument used to explore the teeth for signs of disease, cavities, and abnormalities. They have a small hook on each end that allows dentists to reach all areas of the mouth.
Calculus Deposits – Another phrase for tartar. Tartar occurs when plaque is allowed to harden on the teeth. It can present several problems that required dentistry interventions. It many cases, dental professionals have to scrape the calculus deposits off of the teeth to prevent them from causing more damage in the future.
Dental hygienists provide preventive oral health services that help individuals keep their teeth and gums free from diseases. Dental hygienists receive extensive training that prepares them for a variety of oral health services.
Modern oral health care includes using X-rays to determine whether a cavity or any abnormalities will cause problems in the near future. Preventive dentistry experts, therefore, use x-ray machines to regularly check the mouths of their patients. The training teaches them how to use safety precautions, as well as how to position the camera and understand what the results mean.
There are a variety of hard and soft instruments that dental health experts use to remove tartar and plaque. Scraping these deposits off of the teeth helps improve cosmetics by keeping the teeth white, but it also allows the teeth to remain healthy. In order to prevent these deposits, cavities, and periodontal diseases, the dental hygienists might also use fluoride rinses. This can lower the number of fillings that a patient needs in his or her lifetime by protecting the teeth, gums, and other parts of the mouth from decay.
Polishing teeth also requires modern dental equipment. These polishing and cleaning instruments have indented surfaces on the end, where dentistry professionals can add polishing agents that are stronger than normal toothpaste. This allows the hygienist to give an intense cleaning that improves oral health.
When choosing a dental hygienist, you might want to use the internet to help you find someone in your community who offers the specific types of health care that you need. Look for company web sites and forums where you can learn more about the options in your community.