Knowledge: Must be knowledgeable in oral prophylaxis, preliminary periodontal examinations involving diagnostic tests and x-rays, oral health education, preparation of treatment plans for plaque control, and application of topical fluorides and desensitizing agents to the teeth. Additionally, the position requires planning, conducting, and evaluating preventive dental health programs. The position of dental hygienist requires a knowledge of the concepts, techniques, and procedures of dental hygiene.
Education: The dental hygienist shall be a graduate of a dental hygiene school accredited by the Commission on Dental Accreditation of the ADA.
Licensure: The dental hygienist shall possess a valid license to practice dental hygiene from a United States (US) jurisdiction, state, or territory.
Experience: As a minimum, the dental hygienist shall have a minimum of 1 year of experience following graduation from a dental hygiene school.
Shall have been performing clinical dental hygiene services during 12 of the last 36 months.
TYPE OF WORK – The duties include but are not limited to the following:
Provide comprehensive oral health and dental hygiene treatment to diverse patient groups with assistance from members of the dental service.
Perform the full range of dental services commensurate with the dental hygienist specialty. Duties include, but are not limited to the following:
Patient Evaluation. Complete an evaluation of every patient and formulate a dental hygiene diagnosis and treatment plan, in collaboration with the dentist and patient. Examine a patient’s oral cavity including mouth, throat, and pharynx. Record conditions of teeth and surrounding areas. Refer patients with abnormalities to the dentist. Clinical hygienists usually work alone in a treatment room designed to provide preventative, therapeutic and education services, and work under the supervision of a dentist.
Oral Prophylaxis. Includes seating and draping patients, applying disclosing solution to teeth, supra/subgingival scaling, polishing, cleaning and polishing removable dental appliances worn by patients; and placing pit and fissure sealants on teeth when indicated. Perform the following procedures:
- Adult Prophylaxis
- Child Prophylaxis
- Topical Fluoride, Professional Application
- Topical Fluoride, Self-Applied, Group
- Individual Oral Health Counseling
- Group Health Counseling
- Periodontal Scaling
Preventive Treatment and Education. Provide preventive treatment and education to promote the values of oral and general health and wellness to support population health strategies. Common activities include dental prophylaxis, hygiene and tissue indices, tobacco cessation counseling, professional topical fluoride treatment, oral health counseling, and application of pit and fissure sealants. Compiles statistical data and written reports on the participation in the preventive dentistry program.
Specialized Treatment. Provide specialized treatment designed to achieve and maintain oral health. Specialized treatment includes scaling and root planning of tooth surfaces, application of local chemotherapeutic agents, control of pain and anxiety, continuous evaluation of the patient’s response to therapy, provision of long-term supportive dental care, and management of medical emergencies.
Insertions and Restorations. Insert and remove temporary fillings; insert and remove temporary crowns and bridges; irrigate and pack dry sockets.
Adjustments and Repairs. Administer smoothing and polishing restorations, cleaning and polishing removable appliances.
Surgical Assistance. Assist in surgically related procedures such as removing sutures, placing periodontal packs, controlling bleeding by direct pressure, performing gingival curettage and giving instructions to patients after deep curettage, removing medications from dry sockets, and retracting oral tissues in surgical procedures.
Periodontist Assistance. Assist Periodontist with periodontist patients.
Maintain Medical Records. Maintain medical records in accordance with established clinic procedures.
Dental hygienists function under the indirect or general supervision of a dentist, as defined by the American Dental Association. This requires that a dentist shall diagnose conditions to be treated, personally authorize the procedures, and evaluate the performance of the dental hygienist and provide clinical feedback.
Indirect supervision requires the dentist to be in the clinic or treatment facility and to be physically available to provide consultation and oversight. General supervision does not require the dentist to remain in the clinic or treatment facility, but the dentist shall be available for consultation by phone while the hygienist is performing direct patient care activities.
Peer Review/Performance Review Process. As with any healthcare professional, an ongoing, professional peer review process and periodic review of performance is required and accomplished at least annually as part of the performance review process. Examples of competency assessment include periodic review of a representative sample of dental records, direct observation of performance and verbal/written assessment of clinical knowledge/skills.