Introduction to Dentistry

Dentistry is a preventive oral health profession whose practitioners are responsible for promoting optimal oral health, preventing oral diseases, monitoring oral health status and treating patients who require dentures.

Dental hygienists work with people of all ages and have responsibility for both prevention and treatment of dental disease. Dental hygiene prevents oral disease such as cavities, gum disease and for educating patients in prevention of dental problems.

Specific professional activities of the dental hygienist include initial screening examination and charting of each patient’s teeth, soft tissue and other oral structures, removal of calculus and plaque from above and below the gumline, application of caries–preventive agents such as fluoride and dental sealants, plaque control instruction and development of individualized oral hygiene programs for home care.

Other professional activities might include gathering data for the dental diagnosis, such as: patient medical history, dietary analysis, dental X–ray exposure, processing and interpretation, placement of temporary fillings and periodontal dressings, removal of sutures, and office management.