From May 1st 2013 the General Dental Council permits patients to directly access the services of a dental hygienist. Previously it was necessary for patients to be examined by a dentist before being prescribed treatment by a dental hygienist.
Dental hygienists are registered professionals who help patients maintain their oral health by preventing and treating gum disease and promoting good oral health practice. A dental hygienist must operate within a scope of practice which determines what they can and can’t do. A dental hygienist may:
- diagnose and plan treatment within their competence.
- carry out a clinical examination within their competence
- complete gum disease examination, charting, treatment and monitoring
- take and interpret dental x-rays
- advise on and provide mouth hygiene care
- carry out above and below gum cleaning to remove harmful deposits of tartar and bacteria
- care for implants
- mouth cancer screening
- smoking cessation advice
- re-cement crowns and place temporary fillings
- recognise abnormalities in the mouth
Under the prescription of a dentist a dental hygienist may use local anaesthesia for pain control and carry out tooth whitening.
A dental hygienist may not diagnose or give the prognosis of diseases such as tooth decay nor prescribe antibiotics or pain killers.
A referral to another healthcare professional, including a dentist will be advised if the dental hygienist feels that it is in the best interests of the treatment that you require, or is outside the scope of practice of what they are allowed to do, or they require further advice before treating you. It is very rare that a dental hygienist will not start treatment on you, but concerns may sometimes relate to your general health, medical history or overall condition of your mouth.
If you would like to book a direct access hygienist appointment please contact reception on 01225 464346 who will assist you; or alternatively complete the register with Bath Spa Dentistry form, and we will be in touch once it has been received.