WHO AM I?
My occupation is Dental Hygiene. I work along with the dentist and dental assistants to ensure patients have the standard of care that they need. I see my own patients for cleanings, exams and Xrays. X-rays help the dentist to diagnose accurately. It helps all practitioners to see bone levels, caries, and other dental and periodontal conditions radiographically. Exams are done to screen for oral cancer and other oral lesions or diseases. Dental hygienists are trained to detect suspicious lesions in the mouth and are equipped with tools to help us. We do periodontal probing and measurements. We remove and educate patients about biofilm and microbes living in the mouth.
HOW TO PROPERLY CARE FOR THE MOUTH
Brush 2 time a day (morning and night)
- angle toothbrush 45 degrees towards the teeth and gums. Bristles of brush should gently sweep between crevice of gums and teeth. rotate brush back and forth about 8 times and sweep plaque (biofilm) out of gums. Do this around th e whole mouth on all surfaces of the teeth.
- Whether you are using string floss or the water flossers, something should be going in between your teeth to removed trapped biofilm. Most cavities tend to form in-between teeth where brushes cannot reach.
ACCESS TO CARE
Access to care has always been a problem all over the world, whether due to poverty, geographical area or simply a lack of health care providers in a certain area. Where dental hygiene is concerned, access to care can be a little bit of an issue here in Connecticut. Even though we have the very first dental hygiene school in the world right here in Connecticut along with other great schools, access to care is limited here. The problem isn’t necessarily the lack of dental hygienists, its the limitations that we have. Connecticut had just passed the bill for mid level providers known as Dental Therapists. The access to care issue will be decreased tremendously.
According to the 2010 PEW report, only 41% of Medicaid enrolled students had access to care. That is quite low. In spite of that low percent, I was quite happy to see that Connecticut was one of the few states who received grade “A” on the benchmarks. I think that having dental hygienists in public settings is a big contributor to why we had grade “A”. Children are able to get free care in public school settings. But the fact still remains the same that we need the more extensive dental procedures to be at a more affordable cost so that the vulnerable populations can get the care that they need. Mid level providers will help us move towards this goal. Being a mid level provider, hygienists will be able to do some restorative work, and will be able to expand their environment of practice. I would consider being a Dental Therapist, or an Advanced Dental Hygienist practitioner not just because the names sound cool, but because I would be able to help people with my practice.