Dental hygienists play a crucial role in the field of dental care, working closely with dentists to provide comprehensive oral health services. Their responsibilities are diverse and essential for ensuring the overall health and well-being of patients. Here’s an overview of the key roles dental hygienists fulfill in dental care:

Preventive Dental Care
– Teeth Cleaning: Dental hygienists perform professional teeth cleaning, removing plaque and tartar that can’t be eliminated by regular brushing and flossing. This helps prevent cavities and periodontal (gum) disease.
– Fluoride Treatments: They apply fluoride treatments to strengthen teeth and prevent decay.
– Dental Sealants: Applying sealants to the teeth of children and some adults to protect the chewing surfaces from decay is another preventive measure taken by dental hygienists.

Patient Education
– Oral Hygiene Instruction: They educate patients on proper brushing and flossing techniques to maintain optimal oral health.
– Nutritional Counseling: Dental hygienists often provide advice on foods and dietary habits that affect oral health, helping patients make healthier choices.
– Tobacco Cessation: For patients who use tobacco products, dental hygienists can offer counseling and resources to assist in quitting, which is crucial for oral and overall health.

Assessment of Oral Health
– Oral Health Evaluations: Dental hygienists perform comprehensive assessments of patients’ oral health, including examining teeth and gums for signs of disease.
– X-rays and Impressions: They take dental X-rays and make impressions of patients’ teeth for study casts, which are used by dentists to evaluate oral health and plan treatments.
– Periodontal Charting: They often perform periodontal charting, which involves measuring the depth of the gum pockets around the teeth to assess the health of the gums.

Assisting in Dental Treatments
– Support to Dentists: While the primary role of dental hygienists is focused on preventive care and patient education, they also assist dentists during various dental procedures by preparing the work area, handling instruments, and ensuring patient comfort.
– Local Anesthesia and Nitrous Oxide: In some jurisdictions, dental hygienists are licensed to administer local anesthesia and nitrous oxide to help manage pain and anxiety during dental procedures.

Community Health Promotion
– Public Education: Dental hygienists often participate in community health fairs, school visits, and other outreach programs to educate the public about the importance of oral health and preventive care practices.
– Research and Advocacy: Some dental hygienists are involved in research projects related to dental hygiene and advocate for policies that promote public oral health.

Infection Control and Management
– Sterilization Procedures: They are responsible for sterilizing dental instruments and equipment to prevent the transmission of infectious diseases.
– Clinical Safety Protocols: Dental hygienists ensure that clinical safety protocols are followed, maintaining a safe and hygienic environment for patients and staff.

In summary, dental hygienists are integral members of the dental care team, providing essential preventive care, patient education, and support in clinical procedures. Their role is pivotal in promoting oral health and preventing dental diseases, contributing significantly to the overall health and quality of life of their patients.

For a dental checkup contact Dr. James Lund’s office located in the South Jordan / Daybreak area.

Call (801) 254-7777 or find him on-line at