What’s The Difference Between A Dentist And Dental Hygienist?

If you’re wondering about the difference between a dentist and a dental hygienist, check out this blog from Hallock Family Dental in McKinney and Allen in Texas.

What’s The Difference Between A Dentist And A Dental Hygienist?

At a typical dental clinic, you will find both a dental hygienist and a dentist. The hygienist is responsible for conducting examinations, taking x-rays, and performing a specialized dental cleaning. They may also carry out other routine procedures. On the other hand, the dentist is tasked with performing more specialized procedures such as dental fillings, implants, and restorations to repair teeth. While the roles of both these professionals may seem similar, they are actually quite distinct. At Hallock Family Dental and other dentists, you can expect a dentist and hygienist work in tandem to ensure optimal dental health for their patients.

What Is A Dental Hygienist?

A dental hygienist is an important part of the orthodontic team. Their responsibilities include providing preventative care to patients such as teeth cleaning and examining them for oral disease. Dental hygienists also use a variety of hand, power and ultrasonic tools to remove plaque, tartar and stains from teeth. Other duties may include applying sealants to protect teeth from cavities and taking X-rays of the teeth and gums. Additionally, dental hygienists may provide patients with a fluoride rinse.

Dental hygienists are highly trained professionals who are well-versed in educating patients on good oral hygiene and the importance of flossing, regular tooth brushing, and cavity prevention. While they are not qualified to provide restorative dental care, such as definitively diagnosing and filling cavities, they can collaborate with dentists to ensure that patients get the treatment they need.

All licensed dental hygienists have either a two-year associate degree or a four-year bachelor’s degree and must be state-licensed to practice. In addition, they may use “R.D.H.” after their name, which stands for “Registered Dental Hygienist”. Their work and training allows for dentists to focus on performing more advanced orthodontic procedures.

What Is A Dentist?

Dentists possess extensive knowledge and experience in treating patients due to their eight years of formal training, which includes four years of undergraduate studies and four years of dental school. Should they decide to specialize, they may need to take additional years of training and obtain a license for that specialty, such as an orthodontist, periodontist, or oral and maxillofacial surgeon. Moreover, only dentists are legally allowed to treat or repair physical damage to a tooth, something that dental hygienists are not able to do.

If you visit a dentist, you may see one of two abbreviations after their name.

  • D.D.S. stands for “Doctor Of Dental Surgery.”

  • D.M.D. stands for “Doctor of Medicine in Dentistry” or “Doctor of Dental Medicine.”

Both of these indicate that the dentist graduated from an accredited dental school, and have undergone the same education and curriculum. The abbreviation chosen is up to the university that the dentist graduated from.

Trust Your Smile In The Hands Of Hallock Family Dental

Hallock Family Dental in Texas is a family-owned and operated dental practice that specializes in providing our patients with top-quality, personalized service in a comfortable environment. Maintaining good oral health is critical to living a long, healthy life. That’s why keeping your mouth healthy is our top priority!

The team at Hallock Family Dental looks forward to helping your family maintain healthy teeth, gums, and mouths through every stage of life. Call our Allen location at 972-390-7200 or our McKinney location at 972-547-1775 to learn more about how we can help you and your family have the healthiest, brightest smiles possible.


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