A dental hygienist
or oral hygienist
is a dental professional, registered with a dental association or regulatory body within their country of practice. Prior to completing clinical and written board examinations, registered dental hygienists must have either an Associate’s or bachelor’s degree in Dental Hygiene from an accredited university. Once registered, hygienists are primary healthcare professionals who work independently of or alongside dentists and other dental professionals to provide full oral health care. They have the training and education that focus on and specialize in the prevention and treatment of many oral diseases.
Dental hygienists assess a patient’s condition in order to offer patient-specific preventive and educational services to promote and maintain good oral health. A major role of a dental hygienist is to perform periodontal therapy which includes things such periodontal charting, periodontal debridement (scaling and root planning), prophylaxis (preventing disease) or periodontal maintenance procedures for patients with periodontal disease.