The Versatile Role of a Dental Hygienist

HappyPatientMany dental patients are as attached to their dental hygienist as they are to their dentist. After all, your hygienist is the person you will likely spend the most time with when you go for a biannual checkup. Every six months, it is recommended that you visit your dentist’s office for cleanings and exams. While your dentist is able to discern serious problems with your teeth and gums and can recommend a path of treatment when dental work is necessary, the main bulk of a dental cleaning involves your dental hygienist. Des Moines dentist, Dr. Stephen Burds will tell you more about the women and men we call dental hygienists.

The First Dental Hygienist

Alfred Fones is a very important dentist because he created the job of dental hygienist. He was the first person who saw a need for a structure in preventive dentistry which involved more than just a dentist. In the year 1906, Dr. Fones pulled his cousin, Irene Newman, into his office and began training her to clean plaque and tartar deposits off of teeth. The title “dental hygienist” was coined and made a permanent mark in American history.

Modern Dental Hygienists

Irene Newman was trained through the use of plaster of paris caked onto extracted teeth to simulate dental plaque and tartar. Prospective hygienists these days require much more schooling, and have to pass a rigorous exam in order to receive their license. One of the biggest elements of a dental hygienist’s job is to assist your dentist in promoting dental health for you and your fellow patients. Some of a dental hygienist’s duties include charting, prepping the treatment room, x-rays, dental cleanings, examination for cavities (or other dental issues) oral cancer screenings, and assisting with dental procedures. Hygienists are trained to educate patients on good oral hygiene practices to keep them on track between six month appointments.

Visit your Des Moines Dentist

If you are due for a checkup, contact your Des Moines dentist by calling Gateway Dental Group at (515) 244-9565. We welcome patients from River Bend, Kirkwood Glen, East Village, and neighboring communities.