The Dental Hygienist

Working as a dental hygienist requires you to have a certain degree of knowledge and skill relative to the field of dental medicine and its facets. The professional and learning requirements about this job opening are detailed in this job description. Tailor fitting your resume by identifying your foundation skills comparative to the job opening will increase your chances of successfully landing the position.

In this kind of job, your responsibility is to provide primary care, management and prophylaxis of dental conditions within but not limited to the gums and oral cavity extensions. He prepares and provides clinical information necessary for a dentist to make an effective diagnosis in identifying the right medical condition for a patient who may exhibit symptoms of an undiagnosed gum problem.

The dental hygienist is in charge of cleaning, conducting oral exams and checking for signs of deterioration and proliferation in the cavity of the mouth and its relational structure. Hygienists are also facilitators in educating patients about the value of health awareness for a healthy set of teeth and how to spot signs of gum disease and poor dental hygiene.

An expert understanding of the human anatomical structure specific to the orofacial neuromuscular, glandular and skeletal structure is a requirement to practice as a dental hygienist. Knowledge and necessary licensure to operate medical equipment related to the field is a must, such as radiologic technology, chemical agent management and instrumentation usage.

He is responsible for providing teeth grooming, by performing routine cleaning procedures such as stain removal, cleaning calcareous deposits in the teeth and curative procedures for gum disease and abscess formation. The Dental Hygienist will conduct a thorough physical examination of the teeth and its structures to determine the presence of any undocumented disease, deterioration and prepare the palliative and curative preparation and treatment upon recommendation of a licensed dental practitioner.

If Medicine And Dental Medicine Are So Amazing, Why Have We So Much Illness? Are We Asleep?

Why do we spend so much and get so little?

Medicine in general accounts for massive spending in the “developed world”. We applaud how advanced medicine has become. We read articles about medical miracles and content ourselves that we are doing really well. Yet we are building and needing to build more and more and bigger and bigger hospitals. There are not enough beds in our hospitals to accommodate the number of sick people. Our waiting lists are an embarrassment. It seems not to occur to us that these are not the signs great advancement and wonderful progress in medicine. Increasing numbers of people and illness and a shortage of beds despite the bigger hospitals is a sign of the failure of medical science to bring us the health that it promises to bring.

When medical science can boast that the need for beds for sick people is diminishing and that new hospitals are no longer needed, they will then be reporting progress and medical miracles. People are waking up to this more and more and they are unhappy about the way things are. They see the need for change and want a new direction.

People need a new perspective on medicine. They need a new perspective on dental medicine, a new perspective on the mouth and dental disease. They have been trying so hard to get it right and the are tired and weary. They are weary of listening to scientists tell them what is wrong and how to fix it. They are weary of putting so much in but not getting so much out.

If we know so much, how did this happen?

One man that I saw recently had brushed his teeth so long and so hard that they were literally destroyed by his own efforts at saving them. The gums were 70% destroyed and the teeth were worn through past their centres and waving in the breeze. They were literally waving him good-bye. What had happened to this diligent man, who had never missed a six-monthly check-up and brushed his teeth at least four times a day?

He was on the brink of losing all his teeth as a direct result of his massive effort all his life to ensure that he would not lose his teeth. Emotionally he was distraught and who could blame him. He had done all he was told to do and more. He had never missed a day in his diligent efforts and now, there was nothing I could do for him to save his teeth. He did not know whether to shout in anger or cry in despair. I looked into his eyes and my heart went out to him.

I too felt like crying. The sense of utter disappointment, despair and frustration was so palpable. I did not know what to say to him. We sat in silence for what seemed like twenty minutes but was probably more like twenty seconds.

“I always did my very best…”, he broke the silence in the most dejected tones. I knew in my heart that this was the absolute truth. That was what made it all the more upsetting. I genuinely felt the beginning of tears. I had no words.

Hypnotized by scientific arrogance?

I wanted to apologise to him for the nonsense of the dental health advice he had listened to and followed to the letter and beyond. I was sure that had he not taken the dentist’s advice he might have saved his teeth. We had let him down so badly and now it was too late to modify or refine the advice or the instructions. He had looked up to and respected the wisdom and authority of dental medical science, followed it to the letter and now he was without hope of reprieve.

“We really should level with people and let them know that we are not the absolute authority that they think we are, or expect us to be” I thought to myself. “People have too much faith in us and too little in their own commonsense and wisdom.”

I knew that if were to tell this very intelligent man that all he had to do to maintain his car in good mechanical order was to wash it two to four times a day, with a professional cleaning every six months, he would never believe me. He would immediately intuit that while his car might be very clean using this practice, he could not count on the engine being maintained in this way and it would not protect him from his own driving or from the damage of a crash or other accidental damage. Yet he could believe it of his dental health without question. After all the dental experts said that it was so!

This is a perspective and a teaching that is so limited as to be of little value. In fact we have just seen that when people take it on as the ultimate recipe for dental health, it can cause the complete demise of the tissues by being brought the extreme. People need a new perspective. They need to understand much about the nature of their dis-ease and its origin. The person needs to come to a place where they can be a full partner with their dental (and medical and other) therapist/s. They need to know what we know but also what we don’t know and to be fully involved in decisions about treatment and management.

If this true story is not a call to awake, what is?

Advances In Dental Medicine To Help You Keep Your Teeth Healthy For A Lifetime

There have been numerous technological break-throughs in the art and science of Dental Medicine over the past 5 to 10 years. There are better and more gentle techniques for treating disease as well as better materials for longer-lasting restorations (fillings and crowns).

There are also new aids to diagnosis which allow the patients to see their teeth and gums up close thus allowing them greater control and confidence over the care they receive.
A few of these advances are outlined below.

Intraoral Cameras – A small camera about 1/4 inch in diameter placed on the end of a handle can be used to get close up pictures of individual teeth. These pictures can be viewed on a monitor at a magnification of 35 times the normal size. This camera helps with the diagnosis of problems at even earlier stages thus, repair can be accomplished sooner and more easily. This also has the added benefit of allowing patients to see exactly what is going on with their own teeth.

Caries detector – This is a dye which shows up decay (caries) which could otherwise have been missed. Complete removal of decay is vital in order to have a longer lasting restoration. This is not the same as the red plaque stain that is used to show spots where a person has missed in brushing his teeth.

Resin fillings – These tooth colored fillings have come a long way. Not only are they more natural and aesthetic looking, but they have other advantages as well. The preparation of the tooth to receive the filling can be done in a more conservative fashion. In this way, more of the healthy tooth structure is preserved. These fillings, when used with the total etch – total seal technique described in dental literature by Drs. Bertolotti and Kanca, can protect the tooth from the leakage of bacteria which can occur where the tooth and filling meet. In conjunction with the use of the caries detector, these restorations have the potential for longer life.

Sealants – This is a thin coating that is placed on the chewing surface of the back teeth. Sealants have been successfully used for about 30 years and have been shown to decrease the incidence of decay by approximately 80%.

Orthopedics – According to Dr. Duane Keller, Chairman of the Education Committee of the International Association for Orthodontics, traditional orthodontic treatment often leads to dysfunction in the TM Joints (jaw joints). According to some research done by Dr. John Truitt and others, the problem lies in the fact that the jaws are not of the correct shape and size to begin with and extraction of teeth in these cases can lead to other problems. Research done with the use of Orthopedic Dental Appliances has demonstrated that TMJ Dysfunction can be prevented and even corrected with this technique. Orthopedic treatment can be accomplished at any age but is faster and easier in a young child. I have successfully treated people of ages 4 through middle age with this technique.

Fluoride – Many communities in Sacramento, Placer and El Dorado counties do not have fluoride in their drinking water. Current research shows that fluoride can protect the tooth from bacterial acids as well as control the numbers of bacteria in the person’s mouth. If you do not have fluoride in your water you can get bottled water with fluoride or have your Dentist write you a prescription for fluoride supplements. Prescription fluoride gels are also beneficial in many cases.

Regrowth of disease damaged bone – It was once believed that bone loss due to gum (periodontal) disease was permanent. New research has shown that with a technique known as Scaling and Root Planing (removal of debris under the gumline followed by smoothing of the surface of the root) in conjunction with follow up treatments every 3 months can make it possible for some of the lost bone to grow back in 6 to 12 months. Obviously, good home care is required as well. You may be a candidate for this treatment. I have noticed remarkable improvements when treatment is initiated in the early stages of the disease.

Complete Diagnosis – In order to get and keep your teeth and gums healthy it is necessary to get a complete, thorough, exam with x-rays, if needed, to find cavities or gum disease in its early stages. An evaluation of your joint function and your bite as well as a screening for oral cancer are vital for your overall health.

Our office provides these services and more to help you keep your teeth healthy and pain free for a lifetime.