Dental hygienists use many types of tools to do their job. They clean and polish teeth with hand, power, and ultrasonic tools. In some cases, they use lasers.
Hygienists remove stains with an air-polishing device, which sprays a combination of air, water, and baking soda. They polish teeth with a powered tool that works like an automatic toothbrush. Hygienists use x-ray machines to take pictures to check for tooth or jaw problems.
Dental hygienists help patients develop and maintain good oral health. For example, they may explain the relationship between diet and oral health. They also may give advice to patients on how to select toothbrushes and other oral-care devices.
Dental hygienists typically do the following:
• Remove tartar, stains, and plaque from teeth
• Apply sealants and fluorides to help protect teeth
• Take and develop dental x rays
• Assess patients’ oral health and report findings to dentists
• Document patient care and treatment plans
• Educate patients about oral hygiene techniques, such as how to brush and floss correctly