Dental hygienists assist dentists in treating patients. They use preventive, educational and therapeutic methods for the control of oral diseases to aid individual patients and groups in achieving and maintaining oral health. They are a licensed para-professional, oral health educator and clinical operator.
Dental hygienists are trained to do specific clinical procedures which aim to prevent dental disease. They work under the supervision of a dentist.
Educate and counsel children and adults on dental health, plaque control, oral hygiene and nutrition;
Remove deposits and stains from teeth by scaling and root planing;
Assist in the prevention and control of dental caries (decay) and gum disease;
Select and use appropriate fluoride treatments and polish tooth restorations;
Expose and process dental x-rays;
Make impressions of patients’ mouths for the construction of study casts and mouthguards;
Select and size orthodontic bands (braces), and remove orthodontic wires;
Apply and remove periodontal packs; and
Instruct patients on how to look after teeth and mouth after operations.
Dental hygienists are not permitted to set up in private practice, but must work under the supervision and direction of a dentist. They work in private practices, community health centres, dental hospitals and regional clinics. Qualified dental hygienists should not experience difficulty in finding employment.
There is currently a shortage of hygienists for the perceived needs of the work force, due mainly to the shortage of training facilities. There are limited training places available for this course in Australia and competition is keen.
Australian Dental Schools
New South Wales
Faculty of Dentistry
The University of Sydney
2 Chalmers Street
Surry Hills NSW 2010
Telephone: 61 2 9351 8334/8349
Facsimile: 61 2 9211 5912
Oral Health Unit
School of Health Sciences
Faculty of Health
University of Newcastle
P.O. Box 5012
Gwandalan, NSW, 2259
Telephone: + 61 2 4349 4555
Fax: + 61 2 4349 4567
School of Dentistry
The University of Western Australia
17 Monash Ave
Nedlands WA 6009
Telephone: 61 8 9346 7676
Facsimile: 61 8 9346 7666
School of Dentistry
The University of Queensland
200 Turbot Street
Brisbane QLD 4000
Telephone: 61 7 3365 8106
Facsimile: 61 7 3365 8118
School of Dentistry and Oral Health
Gold Coast Campus
Griffith University PMB 50
Gold Coast Mail Centre QLD 9726
Telephone: 61 7 5552 8800 (switch)
Telephone: 61 7 5678 0703 (direct)
Fax: 61 7 5678 0708
Melbourne Dental School
University of Melbourne
720 Swanston Street
Melbourne VIC 3010
Telephone: 61 3 9341 0216
Facsimile: 61 3 9341 0339
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