The Dental Team
When you say you are “going to the dentist”, do you know exactly what that means? When you visit the dentist, you are actually seeing an entire team that is dedicated to keeping you and your mouth healthy. Dentists lead the team that is comprised of dental hygienists, dental assistants and office staff.
A dentist is a doctor of the oral cavity. He or she has the required education and knowledge in the treatment, diagnosis and prevention of diseases and conditions of the oral cavity. Your dentist knows how the health of your teeth, gums and mouth relates to your general health.
Dentists have extensive expertise that includes six to eight years of education. Dentists are educated to not only spot the obvious, but to also detect early signs of cavities or periodontal disease, and are often the first to spot mouth and throat cancers. Only your dentist has the education, skills, knowledge and expertise to identify and address all of your dental health needs, and recommend and carry out a treatment plan.
The dental hygienist works with your dentist to prevent dental disease and care for the health of your mouth. As the profession indicates, the dental hygienist focuses on your oral hygiene by cleaning, polishing and applying fluoride to your teeth and discussing with you directly how to maintain your smile at home.
The dental assistant works directly with the dentist by helping during patient examinations and treatment procedures. The dental assistant will prepare you prior to treatment, take dental x-rays, pass materials to the dentist during treatment procedures and keep you comfortable throughout the visit.
Dental Office Staff
Typically, the dental office staff is your first point of contact with a dental office. Depending on the size of the practice, this may include receptionists and several other clerical staff to keep the flow of patients running smoothly.