What a registered dental hygienist does?

Clinical Settings:

Dental hygienists who work in practice settings where they are responsible for clinical care of clients provide a wide range of educational and therapeutic services. These services are provided in an ethical manner, using evidenced based clinical decision making in a safe environment. Best practices indicate that the Dental Hygiene Process of Care is the framework within which all dental hygiene care should be conducted.The Dental Hygiene process of Care consists of Assessment, Diagnosis, Planning, Implementation and Evaluation.

The Dental Hygiene Process of Care includes:

  • Assessment
  • Medical and oral health history - comprehensive to assess the connection between oral and systemic health.
  • Charting: including a periodontal assessment (determine the health of the gums and supporting structures of the teeth).
  • Use of appropriate indices and recording of base line data
  • Ordering, administering and interpreting radiographs for dental hygiene services;
  • Consultation/Clearance - Where appropriate and with the clients permission the dental hygienist may consult with other health care professionals.

Diagnosis and Planning

In consultation with the client a dental hygiene Treatment Plan is completed:

The dental hygiene treatment plan for each client includes:

  1. a complete clinical assessment
  2. a dental hygiene diagnosis
  3. client centred goals/objectives
  4. planned sequence of activities
  5. client participation
  6. appropriate referrals

Implementation

This will include all the services included in the Dental Hygiene Treatment Plan that are appropriate for the individual and are within the dental hygiene Scope of Practice. These may include but are not limited to:

  • Periodontal debridement:
    • Removal of soft deposits - plaque bio film
    • Removal of hard deposits - calculus (hardened plaque) from above and below the gum line through hand or mechanical scaling and root planing
    • Removal of stain - polishing of the teeth
  • Use of or prescribing certain therapeutic agents:
    • antimicrobial agents, other than antibiotics,
    • desensitizing agents,
    • anticariogenic agents
  • Individualized Patient education:
    • Oral hygiene self care including goals and evaluation
    • Professional advice/instruction on oral health/therapeutic products
    • Other individual assistance in prevention and education to promote oral health
    • Postoperative instructions
  • Counselling:
    • Dietary Counselling for caries control and other dentally related conditions
    • Smoking Cessation Counselling
  • Impressions of the teeth and gums for the purpose of making certain oral appliances
  • Polishing of restorations
  • With written orders
    • Placement of restorative materials (fillings)
    • Administration of oral anesthetics
    • Orthodontic procedures.

Evaluation

An appropriate dental hygiene recall or follow up is determined based on the individual client’s needs.
At a recall appointment a clinical re-assessment is performed; the dental hygiene treatment plan is reviewed, discussed with the client and modified as required. This includes the use of appropriate indices, charting and revision of goals to evaluate the client’s oral status since their last visit.

 

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