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Registered Dental Hygienists are assigned duties and responsibilities which involve licensed professional work in providing dental hygiene services. A registered dental hygienist implements appropriate standard of care therapy, assists a dentist in providing hygiene, periodontal or dental care and treatment, provides dental hygiene assessments, creates treatment plans based on dentist’s diagnosis, and conducts oral and overall health care education and instruction to patients.
Duties and Responsibilities
- Assess patients’ teeth, bone, and periodontal tissues indicating the presence of any abnormalities or suspected diseases or conditions.
- Creates periodontal treatment plans based on dentist’s diagnosis.
- Bring to the immediate attention of the dentist any suspected lesion in the mouth or on the teeth.
- Thoroughly remove soft and hard deposits and extrinsic stain from teeth, using hand instruments, ultrasonic cavitron inserts and prophy handpieces.
- Instruct patients how to practice good oral hygiene; make recommendations as to appropriate products or devices for patients’ home care; and provide other health care education, as necessary.
- Perform prophylaxis in the absence of periodontal disease or gingivitis.
- Perform full mouth debridement, either as a first stage gingivitis therapy or to remove interfering calculus to further enable a more accurate diagnosis and treatment plan.
- Perform root planning as a periodontal therapy.
- Place locally-administered antibiotics as supportive periodontal therapy.
- Implement irrigation and desensitizing procedures or products as adjunctive to periodontal therapy.
- Expose, develop and mount dental x-rays (intraoral and extraoral).
- Perform In-Office Whitening procedures, including applying gingival isolation, subsequent bleaching gel, and curing gel. Note: The hygienist is unable to apply the first application of bleaching gel. The dentist must perform this.
- Apply cavity-preventive agents, such as fluorides and pit and fissure sealants.
- Make recommendations as to patients’ recare interval and follow-up needs.
- All other duties and responsibilities as assigned and allowed under applicable state laws and regulations.
- Dental hygienists must be licensed and in good standing with the State of Florida.
- Associates or Bachelor’s degree in dental hygiene.
- Current Basic Life Support (BLS) and cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR) certificate.
- Dental hygienists must be willing to partner with the dentist, work well as part of the total dental team and should have good eye sight and manual dexterity, because they use dental instruments within a patient’s mouth, with little room for error.
Dental hygienists work in clean, well-lit offices. Important health safeguards include strict adherence to proper radiological procedures, infection control protocols and the use of appropriate protective devices when administering anesthetic gas or working in the dental laboratory.
Dental hygienists must also wear safety glasses, surgical masks, full arm length gowns/lab coats, and gloves to protect themselves and patients from infectious diseases during all patient care. Open-toe shoes are forbidden, long hair is recommended to be pulled back and finger nails are to be kept short and tidy for all dental hygienists in treatment rooms.