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Dental Hygienists are Gum Detectives

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How many patients don’t know the difference between a dental hygienist and a dental assistant? Admittedly, they both work in a treatment room with similar equipment. Both are equally important. Both take x-rays. Dental hygienists must pass a Dental Hygiene Board exam, written and practical (live patients), after going through a 2-4 year program. Dental assistants usually attend a training program for under a year, but there are other opportunities for additional study.

I couldn’t function without either of these roles. They are another set of eyes to discover a problem, and they understand the various dental procedures almost as much as I do. Dental assistants mix and pass me perfectly-prepared materials so I can keep the tooth dry and place the material effectively on the first try. They are there to adjust the light and remove debris. Dental hygienists detect every spot of tartar (often called calculus) on teeth and make sure that it doesn’t leave the office. They remove stains. Most importantly, they also measure the gum attachment to each tooth and keep an eye out for developing disease. I like to think of them as my dental detectives!

When I read about the early days of dental care, I wondered how they provided comprehensive care. I’m so glad that our practice has the latest innovations that make treatment accurate and fun (well, at least more fun than in the 1800’s).

Contact Winterset Dental today to find out which treatment is right for you.