Teeth Cleaning: Dentist or Dental Hygienist
By contactus@drjrobb.com
January 29, 2022
Category: Uncategorized
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In the early days of dentistry, all services, including dental cleanings, were performed by dentists. It was only after a dentist realized the link between the build up on teeth and gum disease that he began a dental hygiene school. The first dental hygienists graduated in 1913. 

Dentists go to school for 4 years (more if they choose to specialize) and learning to clean teeth is part of their training--so they are qualified to clean your teeth. Dental Hygiene school is usually a 2 year program during which they learn specific dental procedures which include cleaning the teeth--so they are also qualified to clean your teeth.

Many offices employ dental hygienists to perform teeth cleanings so that the dentist(s) are free to do other treatment (fillings, crowns, replacing missing teeth, etc.). Under this model, the dentist sees your teeth and gums for only a few minutes when he or she performs your oral exam. Compare that to a dentist spending 30-60 minutes on your teeth if he or she is doing the cleaning--it's pretty obvious that your dentist is going to know your mouth better and better follow your oral health if she or he is spending more time looking at it.

In the post-COVID 19 shutdown climate, there seems to be a shortage of dental hygienists (whether due to retirement or being scared off by COVID), so you may see more dentists performing your cleanings if they don't have or can't find a dental hygienist to hire. 

Note: The information in this article is not meant to replace the clinical judgement of your healthcare professionals.