Registered dental hygienists can provide a wide range of services as determined by laws in each state. These services include the following:
• After assessing a patient’s individual oral health condition and incorporating the most current scienti c research, including consideration of the impact of oral health on diseas- es such as heart disease and diabetes, dental hygienists plan a special treatment plan designed to make sure each patient has the best oral health possible.
• Targetedandspeci cdentalhygiene treatment for children, adolescents, adults, older adults, and patients who are medically compromised.
• Because targeted and specific systemic diseases like heart disease and diabetes, as well as other conditions, have signs and symptoms that appear in the mouth first, dental hygienists monitor for evidence of disease, and where they find suspicious conditions, inform the patient and recommend a visit to a physician.
• While assessing a patient’s overall health, they also look for problems such as caries (cavities) and periodontal (gum)disease.
• Dental hygienists perform thorough headand-neck examinations to look for oral cancer and other problems.
To prevent and treat disease,they remove plaque (astubborn lmthatcontainsbacteria), and calculus, both above and below the gum line.
To prevent caries, dental hygienists provide nutrition counseling, apply uorides or pitted fissure sealants, and in some states, polish and contour llings.
Because dental hygienists specialize in preventive oral health care, they educate their patients, the community, and schools on oral health and its effect on overall health, as well provide dietary education and counseling.