These Members of Orleans Family Dentistry Staff Play an Important Role
Have you ever visited your local Orleans family dentistry clinic and noticed that some of the staff carry the title of dental hygienist? These staff play a truly integral role in every dental practice, and yet many people don’t quite know exactly what these unsung dental heroes actually do, or how they are different from dentists. In fact, it would probably shock most people to discover that at one point, the role of the hygienist actually caused a controversy in the field!
A Brief History of the Dental Hygienist
In the late nineteenth and early twentieth century, dentistry was not what it was today – but it was beginning to move in this direction. It was beginning to be understood that to ensure truly effective treatment of patients’ teeth, preventative care and cleaning was of incredible importance. In 1906, American dentist Alfred Fones trained his cousin Irene Newman as an apprentice. She assisted in cleaning and polishing teeth, becoming the first dental hygienist.
In 1910, a course for dental nurses began at Ohio College of Dental Surgery, but this actually angered professionals already in the field, and none of the graduating nurses were allowed to work!
But then in 1913, Dr. Fones coined the term “dental hygienist,” and began training students in Connecticut. The rest, as they say, is history, and in 1951, the education programs came to Canada.
The Role They Play
Fast forward to today, and the hygienist at the Orleans family dentistry clinic you visited is an indispensable part of the team. Their specialty is preventing and treating oral disease and promoting good at-home oral care. If you’re visiting just for a cleaning, chances are this is who you’ll work with. They know how to use special tools, both manual and motorized, to remove the buildup of plaque and tartar, as well as any other deposits that form in or on your teeth. They can remove stains, polish teeth, and make them feel like new, as well as advising you on specialized care that you can follow at home. But perhaps their most important function is identifying early signs of oral or periodontal disease.
Other responsibilities that a dental hygienist can carry out include performing and developing x-rays and radiography, keeping track of administrative details involving patient treatment plans, and just generally going above and beyond to perfectly complement the dentists that they work with to create an all-star team that truly takes great care of your mouth and everything in it.
So on your next visit to an Orleans family dentistry practice, make sure you thank your dental hygienist for all the hard work they do keeping your mouth clean and healthy!