The Dental Hygienist
A dental hygienist is a licensed preventive oral health professional who provides education, clinical and therapeutic services to the public through the promotion of oral health. In North Carolina, the dental hygienist works under the direct supervision of a licensed dentist and is a vital member of the dental team. A dental hygienist may work in such practice settings as:
- Private Practice - General Practice and Specialties
- State Institutions - Prison System, Public Health Organizations
- Marketing - Sales Companies
Patient care services performed by dental hygienists may include:
- Monitoring procedures by reviewing medical history, conducting an extra-oral and intra-oral examination, dental charting (restorations, periodontal readings), taking and recording vital signs
- Exposing and processing dental radiographs
- Applying preventive materials such as fluorides and sealants to the teeth
- Removing calculus and plaque (hard and soft deposits) from teeth above and below the gum line
- Counseling patients regarding good nutrition and its impact on oral health
- Counseling patients about plaque control and developing individual at-home oral hygiene programs
Accreditation: The dental hygiene program has been granted the Accreditation Status of Approval Without Reporting Requirements by the American Dental Association Commission on Dental Accreditation. The next site visit scheduled for the program is in 2015.
A copy of the Dental Hygiene Accreditation Standards and CODA Policies and Procedures, including those for complaints, may be obtained by calling 1-800-621-8099. The Standards may also be found online at American Dental Association (ADA) www.ada.org or in writing at 211 East Chicago Avenue, Chicago, IL 60611.