Dental hygiene therapy

  • A brighter smile for Christmas

  • A scale and polish and so much more

  • Dental hygienists’ scope of practice

Oh, you’re a dental hygiene therapist? You’re the person I need to see to get my teeth all cleaned up . . . so, is what you do – clean teeth all day?”

It’s a hypothetical conversation opener, but one that comes around now and then with our hygiene therapist, Sophie Mae BSc Dental Hygiene and Therapy (B’ham) GDC 264333.

Not many people have a clue what this particular dental discipline is all about and the majority believe the sum total of clinical ability is to offer a scale and polish. Nothing could be further from the truth. The work of the hygienists has for years been the Cinderella of dentistry, but things are changing.

Dental hygiene therapy

Sophie Mae, our dental hygiene therapist at work

The role of a dental hygienist

Dentistry has seen strident changes even in the last five years and not least, the scope of practice of hygiene therapists.

Because of a poor understanding of their extremely high skill levels, dental hygienists are often discounted in their role as healthcare professions by the public. And neither is the public aware of the schooling it takes to become a dental hygienist. Even further, many don’t understand just how difficult the academic challenges are to qualify with a BSc Dental Hygiene and Therapy.

Depending on the particular university programme, modules can include: pharmacology, anatomy and physiology, biology, microbiology, chemistry, medical terminology, along with the obvious hands-on training, It’s a hard degree and there are regular casualties.

direct access dental hygienist

Sophie Mae BSc Dental Hygiene and Therapy (B’ham) GDC 264333

Educating patients to care for their teeth

For too many years the work carried out by hygienists has been eclipsed by that of their dentist colleagues.

However, everything that can be achieved by a dentist needs to be maintained and this is where the hygienist’s role comes into its own.

Central to everything that is accomplished with patients at North Street Dental and Implant Clinic is Sophie’s ongoing maintenance. She is the one who champions our preventative dentistry programmes and helps educate patients in caring for their own teeth and often those of their younger children.

Hygiene therapist showing child how to brush teeth

Dental hygiene therapy at North Street Dental and Implant Clinic

Special interest in treating gum disease

Did you know that hygienists are trained to spot diseases before your body ever shows them? They have a special interest in treating gum disease, the most common reason for adult tooth loss in the UK; they can clean teeth above and below the gum line; and help care for dental implants, a major service provided by our clinic.

Regular dental hygiene therapist appointments

Everyone should see a dental hygiene therapist as a matter of course, along with dental check-ups.

And to make things easy the GDC (General Dental Council) now allows direct access to these services. What does that mean? Call us and we’ll book you in with Sophie and you don’t have to see a dentist first. It’s as simple as that and if you’re looking for a dazzling smile for Christmas, now’s the time to give us a call. We are based on North Street in Dudley, West Midlands. For full details see our contact page.

What will happen at my dental hygienist’s appointment?

  • You will be given 45 minutes of clinical time

  • You will receive a thorough oral assessment
  • An inter-oral camera will be used and you will be able to see on screen the issues Sophie will address with your teeth
  • Scale and polish therapy
  • You will also receive an oral education lesson on how best to look after your smile
  • Should you need to see a dentist, Sophie will make the referral. You will have a choice to take that referral away with you, or we can process it within the North Street Dental and Implant Clinic practice. We are fortunate to have an extremely skilled clinical team and those referrals not requiring a hospital consultant are all in-house

Book a same day scale and polish 01384 254 067

What the GDC has to say

The following outline is taken from the GDC website and offers a comprehensive list of therapies new-generation hygiene therapists can undertake,

  • Obtain a detailed dental history from patients and evaluate their medical history
  • Carry out a clinical examination within their competence
  • Complete periodontal examination and charting and use indices to screen and monitor periodontal disease
  • Diagnose and treatment plan within their competence
  • Prescribe radiographs
  • Take, process and interpret various film views used in general dental practice
  • Pan the delivery of care for patients
  • Give appropriate patient advice
  • Provide preventive oral care to patients and liaise with dentists over the treatment of caries, periodontal disease and tooth wear
  • Undertake supragingival and subgingival scaling and root surface debridement using manual and powered instruments
  • Use appropriate anti-microbial therapy to manage plaque related diseases
  • Adjust restored surfaces in relation to periodontal treatment
  • Apply topical treatments and fissure sealants
  • Give patients advice on how to stop smoking
  • Take intra and extra-oral photographs
  • Give infiltration and inferior dental block analgesia
  • Place temporary dressings and re-cement crowns with temporary cement
  • Place rubber dam
  • Take impressions
  • Care of implants and treatment of peri-implant tissues
  • Carry out direct restorations on primary and secondary teeth
  • Carry out pulpotomies on primary teeth
  • Place pre-formed crowns on primary teeth • identify anatomical features,
  • Recognise abnormalities and interpret common pathology
  • Carry out oral cancer screening
  • If necessary, refer patients to other healthcare professionals
  • Keep full, accurate and contemporaneous patient records
  • If working on prescription, vary the detail but not the direction of the prescription according to patient needs. For example the number of surfaces to be restored or the material to be used.

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While we are comfortable to comment in our blog, we are obliged to do so in a fair and balanced way that represents ‘best practice’ in our dental profession. We also wish to point out that third party information that could be reported here, may not necessarily represent the views of North Street Dental and Implant Clinic, or be endorsed by the practice and its staff.