4 ways a dental hygienist adds value to your care team
There’s one aspect of dentist appointments and dental cleanings that I believe is often overlooked. That’s the relationship with your dental hygienist. As a patient, it’s important to understand the value the hygienist brings to your dental health.
While you may believe that the hygienist’s main job is to clean your teeth, they are actually there to serve as a resource to both you and the dentist. Below are a few ways the hygienist adds value to your dental care team.
1. Hygienists monitor vulnerable areas
A good hygienist will be acutely aware of your vulnerabilities, risks, and previous dental treatments, as well as strategies to improve your dental health. Armed with this information, they’re able to assess areas of vulnerability to ensure there are no new issues and check in to see how your at-home care is going.
If you are in the maintenance phase of your dental treatment, you might not see the dentist at every appointment. So, it’s important that the hygienist is looking for changes in your dental health – from cavities to enamel loss and changes in periodontal health.
2. Hygienists provide strategies to improve dental health
During your routine dental cleaning, the hygienist can also provide strategies to help improve your dental health. If, for instance, they see you have an area that is at risk of developing a cavity, they can discuss ways to prevent a cavity from forming.
The hygienist can also point out mistakes you’ve been making, such as areas you are missing when brushing and flossing, and why it’s important to start correcting those mistakes. These are bad habits that form that are common to most patients that become areas of vulnerability.
3. Hygienists answer questions about treatment plans
For a patient who might not be in the maintenance phase yet, the hygienist can also answer questions about your treatment plan. At our office, we prioritize dental treatments to make the treatment plan more manageable and affordable.
For someone who is a year into treatment, they might not remember where they are in the plan and what comes next. The hygienist can answer those questions and discuss what the next treatment entails and how it will improve the patient’s overall dental health.
4. Hygienists educate patients on treatment options
The hygienist should also be skilled at discussing the different modalities of dentistry. They can discuss adult orthodontics and answer questions about Invisalign, or share more information about procedures such as root canals or crowns. Oftentimes, the hygienist will answer your questions, and the dentist will just confirm what they have shared.
This is where having a good relationship with your hygienist is important. You should feel comfortable asking them questions and trust the information and feedback that they give you. This is crucial in our office, and why we pay careful attention to who is on our team.
If your dental hygienist isn’t doing these things, it might be time to find a new dental team. Call our dentist office in Brandon, Florida to schedule an appointment and see why our hygienists are some of the best in town.