Visiting the dentist means seeing a team of people dedicated to keeping you healthy. Dentists lead the team that is comprised of dental hygienists, dental assistants, and office staff.
A dentist is a doctor of the oral cavity. They are knowledgeable about oral treatment, diagnosis and disease prevention. Your dentist knows how the health of your teeth, gums and mouth relates to your general health.
Dentists have six to eight years of education, and are educated to not only spot the obvious, but to detect early signs of cavities or periodontal disease. They are often the first to spot mouth and throat cancers. Dentists identify and address all of your dental health needs, and recommend and carry out a treatment plan.
A dental hygienist works with your dentist to prevent dental disease, and cares for your mouth health. The dental hygienist cleans, polishes, applies fluoride to teeth, and focuses on oral hygiene to maintain your smile at home.
The dental assistant works directly with the dentist during patient examinations and treatment procedures. The dental assistant prepares you prior to treatment, takes dental X-rays, passes materials to the dentist during treatment procedures, and keeps you comfortable throughout the visit.
The office staff are your first point of contact with a dental office. Depending on the size of the practice, this may include receptionists and several other clerical staff to keep the flow of patients running smoothly.