Provide preliminary dental care. Dental hygienists operate outside dentist supervision to clean teeth, inspect patients for signs of oral disease or jaw/tooth problems, produce/interpret X-rays, and keep patients informed on positive oral health habits. They also track and maintain patient records and treatment plans. Depending on state regulations, additional duties may include sculpting and installing fillings and/or periodontal dressings.
Dental hygienists must have a working knowledge of the factors influencing dental health—diet, for example—in order to properly educate patients. They are also highly proficient in interpersonal communication, as they interact with clients regularly.
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