Most people talk about “seeing the dentist,” but in reality it takes an entire dental team to make your appointment run smoothly. In fact, after the front office staff, the first person you usually see is a dental hygienist who spends time assessing, cleaning and preparing your teeth for the treatment to come.

Registered dental hygienists (RDH) are licensed oral health professionals who assist the doctor, thoroughly clean your teeth, screen for decay and disease, and help educate you about how to maintain great oral health. They often work side by side with the dentist to efficiently complete your care. Not just anyone can become a registered dental hygienist. First they must graduate from an accredited dental hygiene school with a certificate, associate or bachelor’s degree. In addition, they must pass a national written dental hygiene exam and a clinical state board exam, as well as meet the license requirements for their individual states.

By the time hygienists begin treating patients, they’ve gone through extensive training and testing to become an expert in the field – this makes them an invaluable part of your dental team, ensuring your teeth stay healthy and look and feel great for years to come.

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