Many patients do not really know what a dental hygienist does and I often get questions like: “Am I to meet you?” Are you a dentist? Are you also doing surveys? I thought you only scratched tartar? “. But we do so much more.
Being a dental hygienist is a very fun and varied work. Every day I meet patients of different ages, with different needs. No day is the other equal and I like it.
Here are some examples of what I’m working with, in addition to scratching tartar.
I take dental prints to soft bites and pale bones. At my clinic there is a lab where we make the rails.
At the examinations I take X-rays (on indication) and diagnose caries and periodontitis. I also look for discrepancies in the mouth and document, diagnose and treat. During the survey, I have an overall perspective: What does the patient need for treatment? What does the patient have for the needs and wishes?
Here we work with team dental care, which means that as a dental hygienist I work with a dentist and a dentist. We meet at least once a week and go through patient cases. At the teammate we discuss the flow at work, we give feedback on what went well and less well and how we can improve. Once a month we also invite the colleagues at the reception. They may be involved in how we think and work as a team while at the same time getting to know the work at the reception. Good teamwork helps ensure a better workflow and effective, safe and good care for the patient.
At meetings with the team, I get an opportunity to develop my skills by discussing and exchanging knowledge and methods. I also get a better insight into what happens outside the treatment room.
Next chronicle I will write about our elder’s oral health. Dental status has changed enormously compared to what it looked like in the 40’s and 50’s. Several have their own teeth left longer and many have solid equipment, such as implants, which can complicate daily cleansing. This also poses a challenge for us.