What Do Dental Hygienists Do?

The dental hygienist plays a crucial role in identifying potential problems that could lead to serious issues with tooth and gum health. If you’re serious about the dental health of you and your family then it’s important to have a dental hygienist on your team.

Dentist vs. hygienist

While a dentist’s role could cover anything from identifying problems to correcting issues such as tooth decay or misaligned teeth, the hygienist is predominantly focused on preventative dentistry.  They have been trained to both assist patients in looking after teeth and to give advice on every aspect of oral health. In particular, a hygienist is trained in prevention and treatment of gum (periodontal) disease, which is the main cause in adult tooth loss, and can help you make improvements to future oral health, as well as to existing routines.

The role of the hygienist

A hygienist appointment is a chance to get a professional MOT of your teeth. The hygienist will check the appearance of teeth and gums to try to identify any problems early. They can take X-rays if there is anything that needs further investigation. They can also give teeth a good clean (a scale and polish) to help remove any existing plaque deposits that could cause problems in the future. Plaque is a bacteria-filled, sticky film that clings to your teeth and is the first step on the road to tooth decay and gum disease. Regular brushing and flossing are the simplest ways to ensures that the bacteria that help plaque to form are removed on a regular basis and the hygienist is the perfect person to ask about any questions you might have concerning the best way to do this.

Do hygienists carry out treatments?

In addition to the scale and polish, a hygienist can also administer fluoride treatments and apply fluoride varnishes, apply fissure sealants and manage tooth whitening procedures. Their role is to help maintain, not just a good looking set of teeth, but healthy gums and positive oral health habits too. This means correcting minor problems, such as removing hard deposits that may have already attached themselves to your teeth, and helping you to understand what it takes to maintain a healthy mouth – such as the correct technique for flossing.

The hygienist is an essential part of your dental health team and plays a key role in helping dental patients to stay healthy.


The health, safety and well-being of all of our patients is our top priority and we are taking all necessary precautions to ensure this. We are continuing to undertake a number of additional cleaning procedures, so the highest possible hygiene standards are upheld throughout the practices at all times. It is our intention to remain OPEN and continue to offer dental services including all emergency services to both our existing patients and any other patients in need of treatment. This will be subject to evolving government and NHS advice. Please contact your nearest practice for availability either by phone or email. We do ask that if you have any COVID-19 symptoms or have been in contact with anyone with confirmed Coronavirus to please call NHS 111 before making or attending your appointment.
+ +