Dental hygienists can work in all sectors of dentistry, and have both clinical and health promotional responsibilities. Clinically they help to treat and prevent periodontal (gum) disease by scaling and polishing teeth, applying prophylactic and antimicrobial materials, taking dental radiographs and undertaking dental monitoring and screening procedures.
Dental hygienists are also able to apply topical fluorides and fissure sealants in order to reduce dental caries (tooth decay).
Dental hygienists’ health promotional role includes motivating and encouraging good oral health practices, including oral hygiene and dietary advice.
Dental hygienists and therapists are uniquely qualified to assist in the prevention and treatment of oral disease, focusing on oral health by monitoring hygiene practices and assisting in developing a home care plan to maintain good oral health.