In the United States, Australia and many other western countries the dental hygienist is a well known and established profession. In other parts of the world however, hygienists are relatively rare and regarded as ‘optional extra’ dental care providers. All dental hygienists (also known as oral health therapists) in Singapore must undergo training for up to three years with an accredited educational institution in order to receive their certification.
The dental hygienist or oral health therapist is a vital resource for both patients and dental surgeons.
Dental hygienists focus on preventative oral care which allows dental surgeons to concentrate on restorative and surgical treatment. Hygienists ensure patients keep their mouths healthy and clean to minimize the risk of expensive dental treatment resulting from gum disease and tooth decay. Gum disease has been linked to heart disease and diabetes and is now viewed as vital to holistic medical care.
Dental hygienists will often spend time assessing a patient’s oral care routine and ask questions about brushing and flossing, general health and nutrition. By checking historical dental records and through oral examination, hygienists will highlight areas of concern in the patient’s mouth.
Another important part of the hygienist’s role is educating patients. Since hygienists are often the practitioners patients visit most, they are a great source of information about oral hygiene as well as new products, procedures and treatments.
Hygienist Iris Bang of Expat Dental, Novena Medial Centre says, “patients often ask about product and treatment safety after hearing rumors in the press. I like to be a trusted advisor for my patients and invest time in answering their queries using science to parse fact from fiction”.
For patients with healthy teeth and gums, regular six-month checkup and cleaning appointments with the hygienist are recommended to ensure proper oral health. As Iris puts it, “my job is to make the sure that patients maintain a healthy mouth, so when it comes to emergency or restorative dental procedures, the dentist’s job is made easier.”
To make an appointment or find out more about dental care in Singapore, please contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org or call on +65 6397 6718.
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