Dental Hygienists Are an Integral Part of the Dentist Team

Dentists are medical professionals that focus on the oral health of patients. Their job is to prevent, diagnose and treat diseases, injuries and defects of the teeth, gums and mouth.

They often work in private practices with dental assistants and hygienists. They also collaborate with other healthcare professionals and refer patients to specialists for specialized treatments. Contact Boca Dental and Braces now!

The dental hygienist is an integral part of the dentist team. They provide:

  • Preventive oral health services including removal of plaque and tartar.
  • Exposing and processing dental X-rays.
  • Providing cavity-preventive treatments, such as fluoride and pit and fissure sealants.
  • Instructing patients on oral hygiene and preventive care.

In addition, they may perform a variety of diagnostic procedures to check for tooth decay, gum disease, and other problems. Hygienists also educate their patients on healthy lifestyle habits, such as diet and smoking cessation programs, which can reduce the risk of oral disease.

Dental hygienists must have strong interpersonal skills to communicate with patients and other members of the team. Their job often involves calming nervous patients and answering questions about treatment options. They also must be able to solve problems quickly and efficiently.

Hygienists must complete a bachelor’s degree program or an associate’s degree in dental hygiene to qualify for employment. They must then earn a license to practice dental hygiene in their state. This typically requires passing a written and clinical board exam. Many states also require a high school diploma or equivalent. Hygienists often join their local chapter of the American Dental Hygienists Association (ADHA) to find resources and employment opportunities. They can also contact local dentists to inquire about job openings. The Bureau of Labor Statistics reports that the demand for dental hygienists will continue to grow as medical research links oral health to overall well-being.

Dental X-Rays

X-rays (radiographs) use electromagnetic radiation to capture internal images of your mouth and jawbone. They can be traditional (taken with film) or digital (taken with sensors that send information to a computer). Dental X-rays are safe and emit very little radiation, and digital X-rays expose the patient to 80-90% less radiation than traditional X-rays.

Depending on your oral health and history, your dentist will determine how often you need to receive X-rays. New patients or those with a history of gum disease may require X-rays every six months, while those with healthy teeth and no history of tooth decay will need X-rays only once in a few years.

Bitewing X-rays show the entire crown and a portion of the root of each tooth in one image. These X-rays are used to detect early tooth decay as well as identify abnormalities in the positioning or growth of the teeth. Periapical X-rays offer a more detailed look at each tooth, from the tip of the crown to just beyond the root and the tip of the jawbone. These X-rays can help diagnose abscesses, cysts or tumors as well as bone loss due to periodontal (gum) disease. Occlusal X-rays show the roof and floor of the mouth, which can be useful in detecting issues like supernumerary teeth, impacted teeth, jaw fractures and hard to reach cysts or abscesses. The occlusal X-ray is also used to check for proper alignment of the upper and lower teeth.

Dental Cleanings

Dental cleanings remove plaque and tartar from the teeth. This reduces tooth decay, gum disease and bad breath. It also lowers your risk of developing heart disease, diabetes and other health problems. In addition to brushing and flossing, dental cleanings are the best way to improve your oral health and prevent serious issues in the future.

During dental cleanings, a hygienist will clean your teeth with a tool called a scaler to get rid of hardened plaque and tartar. Next, they will polish your teeth using an abrasive substance to remove stains and make them look nice and white. After polishing, the hygienist will apply fluoride to help protect your teeth from cavities. They will also rinse your mouth with an air/water syringe, which is a handheld device that sprays water, air or a combination of both.

Lastly, the hygienist will examine your mouth for any broken fillings, cracked teeth or early signs of oral cancer. They will also check for temporomandibular joint (TMJ) disorders, which cause pain in the jaw. Visiting the dentist regularly can help you avoid many common dental problems, and may save you money on expensive procedures in the future. In addition, visiting the dentist regularly can decrease your stress and anxiety about going to the dentist. A dental phobia, or fear of the dentist, is more common than you might think, and can lead to serious health complications in the future.

Dental Implants

Implants are titanium screw-shaped replacement tooth roots that are placed into your jaw to support artificial teeth. They look, feel, and function just like natural teeth. They have transformed millions of smiles and helped people stop using dentures or relying on bridge work for their tooth replacement needs.

To place an implant, your dentist opens the gum tissue to expose the bone. They then drill holes into the bone to hold the implant post – which is the equivalent of a tooth root – in place. The gum is then stitched closed. It can take several months for the jaw bone to grow into and around the implant post, which will eventually provide a solid base for your false tooth.

If the jaw bone is too soft or thin to hold an implant, a dental surgeon can perform a bone graft. They will use natural bone from another part of your body or a synthetic bone-substitute material to improve the quality of the jaw bone. It can also take several months for the bone to heal after the graft.

The success of your implant will depend on your general health and oral hygiene habits. Implants are more likely to fail if you have chronic illnesses that interfere with healing after surgery or engage in behaviors that can inhibit good oral hygiene, such as smoking. Your dentist will evaluate your health and habits to determine whether or not an implant is a suitable treatment option for you.

Root Canals

A throbbing toothache is one of the worst things you can experience. It can distract you from work, ruin your mood, and make it impossible to relax. If left untreated, it could also lead to other health issues, including heart disease and respiratory infections. Fortunately, root canals are relatively painless procedures that can be completed in less than an hour. During treatment, your provider will inject anesthesia into the infected area to numb it. This can cause some discomfort in the days afterward, but this should be manageable with over-the-counter analgesics.

Inside your tooth, beneath the hard enamel and dentin, is a soft tissue called the pulp that contains blood vessels and nerves. During development, the pulp helps grow the tooth and keep it alive. However, if this tissue is damaged or infected, it can cause severe pain and infection.

A root canal is a non-surgical dental procedure that involves removing the damaged tissue, cleaning out the canals, and sealing the tooth to prevent reinfection. While many people are afraid to get a root canal because of the myths about pain associated with the procedure, modern dental technology and anesthetics make the treatment as comfortable as getting a regular filling. Moreover, the treatment saves your tooth from a possible extraction and reduces the need for extreme procedures such as bridges or implants. It also prevents bone loss and makes your tooth healthy again.

Teeth Whitening

Teeth whitening is a common dental procedure that uses bleach to make teeth lighter. It can’t completely whiten stained or yellowed teeth, but it can lighten them by several shades. A dentist or a hygienist can perform the treatment in-office or at home. Beauty salons also offer whitening, but it’s illegal for them to do so without the supervision of a dentist.

A patient who needs to have their teeth whitened will first need a dental exam and cleaning. Then, the dentist will put a shield or gel on the gums to protect them. They will apply the whitening product to the teeth with a custom-made tray that fits in the mouth like a mouthguard. Most whitening products contain hydrogen peroxide or carbamide peroxide, and they work by breaking down the active ingredient in the tooth enamel to lighten it.

Once the whitening is complete, the dentist will rinse off the whitening agent and apply fluoride. They will also give the patient a custom-fitted tray to use at home, which they need to wear several hours a day for up to a month to maintain their brighter smile.

Patients should avoid smoking, drinking red wine, or eating deeply colored foods immediately after whitening to prevent their teeth from staining. They should also visit their dentist for regular checkups and cleanings to keep their teeth healthy. These routine visits can help detect problems and address them early, before they worsen.