Specializations for Dental Hygienists
A dental hygienist is a licensed dental professional whose primary responsibilities include cleaning and examining teeth. In addition, dental hygienists assist dentists with more complex procedures.
Dental hygienists have the opportunity to specialize in specific areas of dentistry. This can expand career opportunities and allow dental hygienists to earn more money. This blog will discuss the various specializations available for dental hygienists.
This area of dentistry focuses on preventing, diagnosing, and treating diseases and conditions affecting the gums and other supporting structures of the teeth. Dental hygienists working in periodontics treat various conditions, including gingivitis (inflammation of the gums), periodontitis (advanced gum disease), gum recession, and other related issues. They also perform and assist with scaling and root planing, gum grafts, oral surgery, and dental implants.
Orthodontics focuses on diagnosing, preventing, and correcting misaligned teeth and jaws. Various treatment options are used in orthodontics, including braces and aligners, to straighten and correct teeth. Orthodontic dental hygienists focus on creating beautiful smiles, improving oral hygiene, and addressing issues like crowded teeth, gaps, overbites, and other misalignments.
Endodontic dental hygienists focus on the study and treatment of issues related to dental pulp and the tissue inside the tooth. One of the most common procedures that endodontic dental hygienists assist with is root canals. They may help remove infected or damaged pulp, clean the inside of the tooth, and seal it to prevent any further infection.
This specialized dentistry field focuses on restoring and replacing missing teeth and oral structures. Those specializing in prosthodontics are trained to diagnose issues and plan and execute treatments for patients who have missing or damaged teeth. They also work with other dental specialists to develop comprehensive treatment plans that require complex dental reconstructions or restorations.
Oral and Maxillofacial Surgery
Dental hygienists specializing in oral and maxillofacial surgery (OMS) support OMS surgeons during procedures to correct diseases and injuries related to the jaw, face, or mouth. Their specific duties can vary depending on the practice and the needs of the surgeon, but some common tasks include prepping patients, sterilizing instruments, record-keeping, and more.
These specialized areas offer dental hygienists an avenue to deepen their expertise, contribute significantly to various aspects of oral healthcare, and diversify their professional journeys. Dental hygienists can also pursue additional certifications to advance their careers.