Last month was Dental Hygienist month. I’m not sure how many people were aware of that. I’m not sure how many other groups got special recognition in October besides hygienists. What I am sure of is the importance of this group of individuals. Their job is vital to the dental field, yet they are often ridiculed, complained about, underappreciated and even feared. I would hope that if more people realized all the things their hygienist did for them, they would be grateful and express an appreciation for the job that they do.
My hygienists are fantastic. They each have their own manner and style, yet each are wonderfully caring individuals. Their dedication in helping patients obtain and maintain oral and physical health is unsurpassed. They work with each patient to find the best methods of treatment and home care for that individual. They are all well trained, and spend many hours in continuous education in order to keep up with the latest techniques, instrumentation and knowledge.
Cleaning teeth is just the beginning of what they do day in and day out. Screening of oral and facial tissues for abnormalities is vital in the fight against oral cancer. Early detection is extremely important in the survival of oral cancer, and hygienists play a huge role in that detection.
Another thankless job done by your hygienist is screen for periodontal disease. Over half of us have some form of periodontal disease, yet none of us like that periodontal probing that is invaluable in the detection of pocketing and inflammation that signals periodontal disease. We are finding the detection and treatment of this disease more important then ever. More and more studies show that periodontal inflammation is linked to heart disease, artery blockage, stroke, pre-term infant delivery, low-birth-weight babies, bacterial pneumonia, respiratory infections, compromised immune systems and diabetes.
So the next time you see your hygienist, thank them. Thank them for being the person everyone hates to see. Thank them for caring about you and your oral and physical health. Thank them for working with you in developing a plan to maintain your health. Thank them for the time and effort spent in keeping up with the rapidly changing field of gum disease and its prevention. Thank them for giving you peace of mind against oral cancer. Thank them for poking you with that sharp probe once a year so that not only your gums stay healthy, but also your heart, arteries, lungs, immune system, your unborn baby and even your blood sugar levels. And above all, thank them for finding that little cavity under that old filling. Because if they didn’t find it today, six months from now it could be a lot more expensive and painful to repair.
Thanks for Reading,
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