October is National Dental Hygiene Month, and 2013 is an especially exciting year because it is the 100th anniversary of the American Dental Hygienists’ Association. Here at Smiles Dental, we take pride in giving you excellent dental care, a goal we couldn’t accomplish without the help of our wonderful dental hygienists. To celebrate the hard work our dental hygienists provide every day, we want to bust some common myths about their job.
Myth: Anyone can get a job as a dental hygienist.
Fact: Those who want to become dental hygienists must first be accepted into an accredited college dental program. There are usually more applicants than available positions at these programs, so the competition can be stiff. After earning a degree, dental hygienists must pass difficult state exams, clinical regional exams, and national board exams. They must then apply for a state license with the Board of Dentistry before working as a hygienist.
Myth: Our job is to nag patients about flossing.
Fact: We love it when our patients regularly floss their teeth, but many do not and put their gums at risk for developing periodontal disease. Think of your gums like skin. If your skin swelled and bled in another part of the body, you would treat it immediately. The same goes with your gums, and the treatment is flossing. We don’t want to nag, but your oral health is so important to us that we always try to educate our patients about how flossing keeps your smile healthy.
Myth: Your pain is our gain.
Fact: Dentists and dental hygienists often get a bad rap from the way the media portrays the dental industry. However, here at Smiles Dental we never want to cause our patients pain. We pride ourselves on striving to give you and your family a comfortable, painless experience at our practice and hope you will look forward to your next check-up.
Myth: We only clean teeth.
Fact: Though we do brush, floss, and scrap tartar from your teeth, there are so many other tasks we complete in one day. Dental hygienists also:
- Review patient medical history
- Provide oral hygiene instructions
- Suggest products that will improve dental care
- Take x-rays to look for abnormalities
- Educate patients
- Welcome new patients
- Administer anesthetics
- Answer questions
- Increase comfort
- Place dental sealants
- Apply fluoride treatments
We complete these tasks all while having a personalized conversation with our patients. Additionally, we are always learning more about dentistry so we can provide optimal dental care.