The Dental Hygiene Professional

A dental hygienist is a licensed oral health professional. The dental hygienist provides educational, clinical and therapeutic services to their patients.  In Michigan, the dental hygienist works with the dentist under indirect and direct supervision to deliver quality dental hygiene therapy.

What types of procedures are performed by a dental hygienist?

  • review of the patient's health history, dental charting, oral analysis, blood pressure screening,
  • removing plaque and calculus from above and below the gum line
  • taking x-rays
  • applying cavity-preventive agents such as fluorides and sealants to the teeth
  • teaching patients oral hygiene techniques to maintain healthy teeth and gums;
  • counseling patients about plaque control and developing individualized at-home oral hygiene programs
  • counseling patients on the importance of good nutrition for maintaining optimal health

A dental hygienist can practice in various settings. They include, but may not be limited to:

  • Private dental offices and dental clinics
  • Federal, state and local health departments
  • Hospitals
  • Educational programs for dental hygiene and dental assisting students
  • Private business and industry
  • Correctional facilities
  • Nursing homes