Wondering whether you should visit a dentist or a dental hygienist? It’s common for the term “dentist” to conjure up images of intimidating tools, so if you just need a regular check-up or cleaning appointment, are you leaning towards the slightly more gentle sounding “dental hygienist”?
In reality, the hygienist role tends to complement the role of the dentist, to help deliver quality treatment plans and provide support in the clinic. In this article, we’ll take a look at the role of the dental hygienist compared to that of the dentist, so you know what to expect when you book an appointment.
A dentist carries out all overall diagnosis and treatment of issues in patients’ mouths. This ranges from removing decay or repairing damaged teeth, administering anaesthetics or prescribing antibiotics, to taking X-rays and referring patients to a specialist where necessary.
They often work in collaboration with dental hygienists or therapists, dental laboratory technicians and receptionists. Most dentists are general practitioners, though some specialise in certain areas such as orthodontics, anaesthesiology, endodontics (root canal therapy) and pediatric dentistry (children’s dentistry).
You should make an appointment with a dentist when:
Dental hygienists are mostly involved in preventative treatments. They carry out professional teeth cleaning known as a “scale and polish”, which removes plaque to protect your mouth against serious issues such as decay or gum disease. They’re also trained to carry out X-rays and other procedures such as placing fissure sealants and administering fluoride treatments.
They’ll also provide guidance on how to properly care for your mouth and prevent tooth decay, including information about oral health and a proper diet. Hygienists work in a supporting role with the dentist to provide comprehensive, tailored care.
You may just need an appointment with a hygienist when:
With most appointments at Marsfield Dental Clinic, you’ll visit a dentist who will be supported by a hygienist, for a thorough treatment that’s designed to be as efficient and comfortable as possible. To book an appointment, call our practice on (02) 9887 1961.
"The information in this website may be simplified in nature and does not replace professional advice. Risks and consequences may apply to any treatment. Always seek a second opinion when considering complex treatment. A referral to a specialist may be required in certain situations. Quotations can only be given after proper clinical assessment and so pricing details cannot be given over the phone."