The importance of maintaining good dental hygiene and care cannot be overemphasized, especially in the field of pediatric dentistry. In recent times, the dental hygienist has become an integral part of pediatric dentistry due to their expertise and knowledge in oral health. Dental hygienists play a crucial role in preventing dental diseases and providing appropriate dental care for children. In this article, we shall take a closer look at the significant responsibilities and vital role of dental hygienists in pediatric dentistry.
Prevention and Education: Dental hygienists are experts in oral health education, and they provide much-needed guidance to parents on the best practices to keep their children's teeth healthy. They also teach children proper brushing and flossing techniques, and the importance of a healthy diet. They educate parents and caregivers on the prevention of dental diseases, such as cavities and gingivitis, and how to avoid them. Dental hygienists also promote smoking cessation as smoking can lead to several dental and gum diseases.
Dental Cleaning: Dental hygienists are responsible for providing pediatric patients with routine dental cleanings to maintain their oral hygiene. This includes scaling and polishing teeth to remove plaque and tartar buildup. The hygienist uses their expertise to identify any dental issues that may require further investigation and treatment.
Topical Fluoride Treatments: Fluorides are essential in preventing dental cavities. Dental hygienists in pediatric dentistry apply topical fluoride to a child's teeth to boost the enamel's strength. Also, they provide fluoride therapy to patients that require such treatment for cavity prevention or management.
Sealants and Restorations: Dental hygienists may also provide restorative dental procedures such as sealants, fillings, and crowns to pediatric patients. Sealants are usually applied to the biting surfaces of children's molars to prevent cavities. Dental hygienists also provide amalgam and composite fillings to repair damaged teeth.
Local Anesthesia: Dental hygienists are also authorized to administer local anesthesia in some states. This allows them to provide more comfortable dental care for children undergoing dental procedures, such as fillings, extractions, and root canals.
In conclusion, dental hygienists are an essential part of the dental team and play a vital role in pediatric dentistry. They work alongside dentists to provide preventive and restorative dental care to children to ensure they maintain good oral health. They provide education, render treatment, and create a comfortable environment for pediatric patients. In turn, dental hygienists continue to reduce the prevalence of dental diseases in children. Hence, it is essential to have a high level of respect and value for the role of dental hygienists in pediatric dentistry.