October is National Dental Hygiene Month, and this year also marks the American Dental Hygienists’ Association’s 100th anniversary!
In honor of all the hardworking men and women who work diligently to improve patients’ smiles as dental hygienists, especially our extraordinary staff here at Burlingame Dental Arts, we’d like to take a minute to dispel a few of the myths commonly heard about this invaluable profession.
Myth: It’s Easy to Become a Dental Hygienists
In truth, becoming a dental hygienist requires a lot of hard work and dedication. Earning a degree to become a hygienist requires being accepted into an accredited college program. Because of the high demand for hygienists, entry into these programs is incredible competitive, with far more individuals applying than slots available.
Of course earning the degree is only the first step. After graduating, a hygienist must then pass a series of difficult national board exams, clinical regional exams, and state licensing exams. Once all necessary certifications have been obtained, a hygienist still must apply for and receive a license from their state’s Board of Dentistry before they can begin providing patient care.
So as you can see, the dentist isn’t the only highly trained individual helping to take care of your oral needs when visiting our office.
Myth: Hygienists Enjoy Nagging People About Flossing
What every hygienist as Burlingame Dental Arts really enjoys is seeing patients with healthy teeth and gums. The best way every patient can help prevent gum disease and periodontitis is by brushing and flossing daily. When a hygienist sees a patient that neglects such an important oral hygiene habit, they understand the long-term risks poor oral health can have on a person’s health.
In recent years, a number of studies have found substantial links between gum disease and a variety of chronic health problems, such as diabetes, heart disease, stroke, and dementia. By failing to floss, patients don’t just hurt the health of their teeth and gums, they also increase their risk of developing serious problems that can negatively impact their quality of life.
Now that you know the risks, maybe you can appreciate why hygienist feel the need to lecture some patients who clearly don’t floss.
Myth: Hygienists Love to Cause Pain
Our hygienists strive to provide every patient with the best care possible, and make every effort to help you feel comfortable and relaxed. Usually it’s the patients who are lackadaisical when taking care of their oral hygiene at home that experience uncomfortable dental appointments. So if you make it a point to brush and floss daily, then you’ll have a much better experience during your next appointment. We promise.
Myth: Hygienists Just Clean Teeth
While removing built up plaque from patients’ teeth and offering helpful reminders about the importance of flossing rank as two of the most important aspects of a dental hygienist’s job, the position also requires the completion of other vital tasks. In a typical day’s work, a dental hygienist may also review a patient’s medical history, perform a preliminary assessment for periodontal disease, screen for oral cancer, offer tips on the best oral hygiene habits, take x-rays, offer oral care product recommendations, administer anesthetic, help increase a patient’s comfort level while decreasing their anxiety levels, apply fluoride, and answer any questions you may have regarding your oral health. Quite the busy day indeed!
So the next time you visit Burlingame Dental Arts, remember to smile when you see our dental hygienists, and remember how important they are to the health of that smile.