A registered dental hygienist (RDH) is someone who specializes in preventative oral health care. They examine and clean a patient's teeth and gums of soft and hard deposits and they record the presence of any tooth or gum related diseases. They also provide therapeutic treatments that are meant to stop tooth and gum related diseases and teach the patient how to practice proper oral hygiene. It is also the responsibility of some registered dental hygienists to administer local anesthesia to a patient before any kind of oral surgery. RDH's also take and develop x-rays of patients' teeth.
Registered dental hygienists usually work for privately owned practices. They generally work very closely with the head dentist and other dental assistants in treating and examining a patient. They also may also work in other settings such as a school or university or at a large corporation. A registered dental hygienist has a fairly normal work schedule that depends on the business hours of their employing business.
An associate's or bachelor's degree in the dental field from an accredited school is the first step required to becoming a registered dental hygienist. The second step is to obtain a state license which is required in order to legally practice. To get this license, one must pass the written exam that the American Dental Association administers, and the clinical exam that state or regional offices administer.
Registered Dental Hygienist (RDH) Tasks
- Record the presence of diseases or abnormalities.
- Examine patients teeth and gums.
- Teach patients how to practice good oral hygiene.
- Remove soft and hard deposits from teeth.