Are There Differences Between A Dentist & A Dental Hygienist?

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The dental industry is indeed very complex. There are quite a few health professionals that work in a typical family dental clinic. Of course, one of the most important positions is that of receptionist, the person who mans the phone lines and deals with incoming and outgoing patients. There is also the resident hygienist you’ll find in most dental clinics. 

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What Does A Dental Hygienist Do?

The dental hygienist has several roles. First, they are able to deep clean a patient’s teeth using special equipment, while the hygienist is also responsible for preventative treatments. In many dental practices, resident hygienists appoint their own patients and work independently, while in smaller clinics, the hygienist might work with the dentists who use the clinic. The dentist might refer a patient for deep cleaning, which should be carried out prior to some dental treatments such as laser teeth whitening. If you would like to have your teeth deep cleaned, contact your Lane Cove dentists or the dental clinic near you, where you can book a deep cleaning session with the resident hygienist.

Hygienist Qualifications

In Australia, for example, a dental hygienist would have graduated with a BA in dental hygiene, then you would need more qualifications regarding patient treatment, which would be gained from working in the field in a supervised situation. Many hygienists develop a passion for their work and decide to go back to college to qualify as a dentist, which would take another 3-5 years. If you love working with people, perhaps training to be a dental hygienist would be a great career choice. There are lots of free resources online to help you get a clearer idea of what a hygienist actually does. 

Qualified Dentists

It takes at least 6 years to train to be a dentist. Some even training for up to 10 years, especially if they are going to specialise. Simply put, a dentist can do everything a hygienist can, plus a whole lot more, including the following:

  • Fillings
  • Tooth extraction
  • Root canal treatment
  • Dental implant treatment
  • Orthodontics
  • Porcelain veneer treatment
  • Gum surgery
  • Administer sedatives/ anaesthetics

Typically, a dentist would have at least 5 years’ experience working in an unsupervised manner and with so much hands-on experience, the dentist can deal with most issues. If a dentist wishes to take on a specialist field, this might take up to 4 more years of training, both in theory and practice.

As you can see, there are many differences between dentists and dental hygienists, each playing a very important role in the running of a dental practice. You would probably meet both dental professionals over a period of time, as the dentist and the hygienist work closely together.

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We should all pay our dentist a visit every 6 months, to allow the health professional to inspect our teeth and gums. Should there be any issues, prompt treatment can be carried out. If you follow a good oral hygiene routine and visit your dentist for regular check-ups, you should have no serious dental issues.