Who are Dental Hygienists?
The hygienist is a specialist in the prevention and treatment of oral disease. As a member of the dental team the role of the dental hygienist is to motivate and treat patients to help maintain their oral health.
They undertake a two year course to obtain a Diploma in Dental Hygiene. A three year degree course is also available. The General Dental Council has approved the use of the letters EDH as a short title for Enrolled Dental Hygienists.
What do they do?
Dental Hygienists have both clinical and health promotional responsibilities. Clinically they help to treat and prevent periodontal (gum) disease by scaling and polishing teeth, applying prophylactic and anti-microbial materials, they can take dental radiographs and undertake monitoring and screening procedures. Dental Hygienists are also permitted to apply topical fluorides and fissure sealants in order to reduce dental caries (tooth decay).
Their Health Promotional role includes motivating and encouraging individuals and groups in oral health practices including oral hygiene and diet advice.
A dental hygienist, under the written prescription of a dentist may:
- Monitor gum (periodontal) disease by using current indices.
- Monitor plaque scores
- Provide oral hygiene advice.
- Give specific preventive advice including nutritional guidance,advice and use of fluoride agents and the benefits of smoking cessation.
- Develop a home care plan for individual patients to maintain oral health.
- Perform scaling above and below the gum.
- Comprehensive hand scaling of the root surface (debridement)
- Provide a thorough polishing, which will include finishing and polishing of fillings if required.
- Apply fissure sealants
- Replace crowns with temporary cement in an emergency.
- Remove excess cement by instruments.
- Placement of local anaesthetic when necessary
- Placing of anti-microbial agents when necessary.
- Take radiographs provided they have undergone ‘core knowledge’ certificate.
- Take impressions.
- Administer inferior dental nerve block anaesthesia under the direct personal supervision of a registered dentist.
- Administer local infiltration anaesthesia without the direct personal supervision of a registered dentist.
The work of a dental hygienist is controlled by the Dentist Act 1984, and the Dental Auxiliaries Regulations 1986, as amended in 1991 and 2002. The regulations set out the work, which dental hygienists may carry out under the direction of a registered dentist who has examined the patient and issued a written prescription.
How much does it cost?
Costs quoted are based upon the time each practice allocates. At West London Dental Centers we find to we need 30 min. to properly treat a patient. Our charge is £45.00 for a 30 min. appointment. Many practices quote for 20 min. appointments, it is important to compare any costs quoted to the time allocated
How do I make an appointment?
To make an appointment please ring 020 8994 6202 (CHC), 020 8994 3088 (BRD) or 020 8380 6202 (1010)
I am a new patient and I only want to see the Hygienist. What are the rules?
Under current Dental legislation, Dental Hygienists have to work under a prescription of a Dentist. It is for this reason, we are not allowed to appoint with Dental Hygienists only.
New patients have to register and be seen by a Dentist who will formulate a plan of treatment, which is presented to Hygienist.
I am an existing patient and I want to see the hygienist in between my checkups?
As you already have a prescription in your notes, you can make an appointment to see the hygienist directly. Please make an appointment in the usual manner with the hygienist.
I am already registered with a Dentist, but would like to see your Hygienist only.
This is possible. If your own Dentist is referring you to our Hygienist, a letter of referral and a treatment plan will be required. Our Hygienist will send a report of her care to your dentist at the end of her treatment. The charges are paid to our practice.