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What does a Dental Hygienist do?

Dental hygiene is an essential aspect of dental care that helps keep your teeth and gums healthy. A dental hygienist is a dental professional who specialises in providing preventive dental care services. They are highly trained in evaluating gum conditions and in educating patients on good oral hygiene practices. When needed, they help patient to maintain excellent oral health by removing tartar, plaque, and stains, and applying fluoride treatments.

Dental Hygienist’s job description

A dental hygienist’s job description typically includes the following tasks:

  • Teeth Cleaning: The primary responsibility of a dental hygienist is to clean teeth thoroughly. This involves removing tartar and plaque build-up, which can cause tooth decay and gum disease. Dental hygienists use specialised tools such as ultrasonic scalers, airflow and hand instruments to remove tartar, plaque and stains.
  • Gum Disease Screening: Dental hygienists also perform gum disease screening, also known as periodontal screening. They measure the depth of the pockets between the teeth and gums to determine if a patient has gum disease.
  • Fluoride Treatment: Dental hygienists also apply fluoride treatment to teeth. Fluoride helps prevent tooth decay by strengthening the tooth enamel.
  • Patient Education: Dental hygienists educate patients on good oral hygiene practices such as proper brushing and flossing techniques, and the importance of regular dental check-ups.

Benefits of seeing a Dental Hygienist

Seeing a dental hygienist is crucial for maintaining good oral health. Here are some benefits of seeing a dental hygienist regularly:

  • Prevents Dental Problems: Dental hygienists help prevent dental problems such as tooth decay, gum disease, and bad breath.
  • Early Detection of Dental Issues: Regular visits to a dental hygienist can help detect dental issues early on before they become more serious and costly to treat.
  • Saves Money: Preventing dental problems through regular visits to a dental hygienist can save you money on costly dental treatments down the line.
  • Improves Overall Health: Poor oral health has been linked to other health problems such as heart disease, stroke, and diabetes. Seeing a dental hygienist regularly can help improve your overall health.

Qualifications required to become a Dental Hygienist in the UK

To become a dental hygienist in the UK, one must have a high school diploma or equivalent and complete a dental hygiene program accredited by the General Dental Council (GDC). These programs typically take two to three years to complete and result in a diploma or degree. Some programs also offer postgraduate courses, such as a master’s degree in dental hygiene.

In addition to completing an accredited dental hygiene program, dental hygienists in the UK must register with the General Dental Council (GDC) to obtain a license to practice. Continuing professional development (CPD) is also required to maintain registration and stay up-to-date with the latest developments in the field.

How long does it take to become a Dental Hygienist in the UK?

The time it takes to become a dental hygienist in the UK varies depending on the education and training requirements. Typically, completing an accredited dental hygiene program takes three years. Pursuing a postgraduate degree can take longer. Additionally, registering with the GDC and obtaining a license can take several months.

What’s the difference between a dentist and a dental hygiene?

The main difference between dentists and dental hygienists is the scope of their practice. Dentists are trained to diagnose and treat a wide range of dental problems, while dental hygienists focus on preventing dental problems from developing in the first place.

In summary, while dentists and dental hygienists work together to provide comprehensive dental care, dentists diagnose and treat dental problems, while dental hygienists focus on preventing dental problems through preventive dental care services.

Finding a Dental Hygienist in London

At Wimpole Street Dental Clinic, our experienced dental hygienists use the latest tools and techniques to provide preventive dental care services to our patients.

A dental hygienist plays a critical role in maintaining good oral health. They provide preventive dental care services such as teeth cleaning, gum disease screening, x-rays, fluoride treatment, and patient education. 

Regular visits to a dental hygienist can help prevent dental problems, detect dental issues early on, and save you money on costly dental treatments down the line. If you are looking for a dental hygienist in London, consider visiting Wimpole Street Dental Clinic.


Created: 02/05/2023

Updated: 26/05/2023

Clinically reviewed by: Prof Dr Christian Mehl

Written by: Dr Raul Costa

Dr Raul Costa

About the author:

Dr Raul Costa is a restorative dentist with a unique set of skills for dental aesthetics and a drive for ultra-conservative techniques. He qualified from the Lisbon Dental School in 2005 and has been practicing in London since 2008. He works with world-renowned ceramists in order to deliver natural-looking, life-like, crowns and veneers. He is also particularly talented and experienced with composite bondings and implant-supported restorations.