Have you ever wondered, what’s the difference between a dentist and a hygienist? And do you need to see both? Let’s talk about how a dentist and a hygienist can both help keep your smile healthy.
What Does a Dentist Do?
Dentists are doctors who specialize in the treatment and care of your teeth and gums. If you want to keep your smile healthy, strong, and bright, then it’s important to see a dentist for regular exams to check on the health of your teeth.
If you have a problem with your teeth or gums, a dentist is also who you should see to find out the source of your symptoms and provide treatment to help get your smile looking and feeling its best again.
What Does a Hygienist Do?
So, what’s the difference between a dentist and a hygienist? A dental hygienist is different from a dentist because they are not a doctor and do not diagnose or treat problems with your teeth.
However, they do work alongside your dentist to help keep your teeth and gums healthy. A dental hygienist is a person who cleans your teeth when you visit your dentist for an exam and professional dental cleaning.
Dental hygienists have special expertise and tools to be able to clean the hard-to-reach and problem areas of your teeth where plaque and tartar buildup can accumulate and lead to discoloration, cavities, or gum disease if not addressed regularly.
How to Know When You Need an Exam or Cleaning
Now that you know the answer to the question, “What’s the difference between a dentist and a hygienist?” the next thing you need to know is how to know when you need to see either one.
If your teeth and gums are healthy, you should get a dental exam and cleaning every 6 months to help keep them healthy. Signs that you might be due for an exam or cleaning sooner than that might include discomfort when eating or drinking hot or cold foods, swollen, red or tender gums, discoloration of your teeth, or if your teeth hurt when you chew.
If you notice any of these signs, call your dentist right away to make an appointment so that they can get your teeth and gums back to feeling their best as soon as possible!
Call our Houston Dental Office to make an appointment with a dentist who may be able to help you find out more about this topic, and improve your oral health.