Having the pleasure of being a dentist in Holland means we get to help treat so many wonderful patients and their families. It also means we get to work alongside some fantastic folks! This month we’re pausing to appreciate everyone in our office and dental practices across the country, especially our outstanding dental hygienists. Without them, your experience at the dentist would never be the same.
Every year, October is named National Dental Hygiene Month, and we think it’s the perfect time to take a look at what your dental hygienist does. (We even got a few tricks or two that can help you help them take care of your smile so that it lasts a lifetime. Don’t thank us, thank them!)
Being a dental hygienist goes far beyond just coming to work every day and cleaning teeth for a living. There’s so much more skill and training that goes into taking care of smiles; you’d be exhausted just reading about it. Dental hygienists sometimes wear many hats around the office, depending on the size of a dental practice and the number of patients they see each day. At any given time might find a dental hygienist:
– Carefully examining teeth and the entire mouth for anything suspicious
– Taking a patient’s oral health history, blood pressure, and pulse
– Assessing your oral health needs and goals
– Taking precise x-rays and oral photos
– Educating patients about the best ways to care for their smile at home
– Clearing away harmful plaque and tartar from teeth to avoid decay
There’s a reason why the American Dental Association will tell you that dental hygiene takes time and effort to perfect. They’re responsible for taking care of you and your smile using some of dentistry’s most advanced treatments, techniques, and tools. That’s a lot to know and learn!
It’s not like dental hygienists are some new trend in dentistry. They’ve been around for well over a century. Your Holland dentist did a little digging online and found out that Registered Dental Hygienist Magazine says a new type of dental “nurse” began to help with teeth cleanings to prevent decay and disease dating back to the 1880s.
Dr. Albert C. Fones trained his assistant, Irene Newman, to act as an apprentice, scaling and polishing teeth. As more and more folks became interested in this new career category, Fones struggled with what to call it. He didn’t like the term “dental nurse,” so he started calling his students dental hygienists instead.
National Dental Hygiene Month first started being recognized in October back in 2009 courtesy of the American Dental Hygienists’ Association (ADHA) and Wrigley gum. Together, both organizations saw the need for more Americans to put a heavier emphasis on keeping their teeth healthy.
This year, there’s even more to celebrate as the ADHA is partnering with Walgreens and LISTERINE® to further promote the benefits of good oral health and the incredible, life-changing work done by dental hygienists across the nation. There’s even a new, #DoTheSwish campaign happening at participating stores where you can snap a selfie with specially-marked LISTERINE® mouthwash displays for a chance to win some sweet prizes!
Your dental hygienist is one of your most significant defenses your mouth has against decay and disease. They’re specially trained to spot issues that the normal eye can’t see. The great part about this is, the earlier we’re able to detect any problems or abnormalities in your oral health, the more likely it is we can fix it early and save your smile.
We hope you’ll join our Holland dental office in offering huge cheers to every dental hygienist out there today. Without them, so many people would not get to experience the confidence and pure joy having a healthy smile can bring to your day. We thank you and salute all that you do!