Dental Hygienist Scope

The scope of your practice is a way of describing what you are trained and competent to do.

It describes the areas in which you have the knowledge, skills and experience to practise safely and effectively in the best interests of patients.

Dental Hygienists
Dental hygienists are registered dental professionals who help patients maintain their oral health by preventing and treating periodontal disease and promoting good oral health practice. They carry out treatment direct to patients or under prescription from a dentist. As a dental hygienist, you can undertake the following if you are trained, competent and indemnified:

• provide dental hygiene care to a wide range of patients
• obtain a detailed dental history from patients and evaluate their medical history 
• carry out a clinical examination within their competence
• complete periodontal examination and charting and use indices to screen and monitor periodontal disease
• diagnose and treatment plan within their competence
• prescribe radiographs
• take, process and interpret various filmviews used in general dental practice
• plan the delivery of care for patients
• give appropriate patient advice
• provide preventive oral care to patientsand liaise with dentists over the treatment of caries, periodontal disease and tooth wear
• undertake supragingival and subgingival scaling and root surface debridement using manual and powered instruments
• use appropriate anti-microbial therapy to manage plaque related diseases
• adjust restored surfaces in relation to periodontal treatment
• apply topical treatments and fissure sealants
• give patients advice on how to stop smoking
• take intra and extra-oral photographs
• give infiltration and inferior dental block analgesia
• place temporary dressings and re-cement crowns with temporary cement
• place rubber dam
• take impressions
• care of implants and treatment of peri-implant tissues
• identify anatomical features, recognise abnormalities and interpret common pathology
• carry out oral cancer screening
• if necessary, refer patients to other healthcare professionals
• keep full, accurate and contemporaneous patient records
• if working on prescription, vary the detailbut not the direction of the prescription according to patient needs

Additional skills which dental hygienists might develop include:
• tooth whitening to the prescription of a dentist
• administering inhalation sedation
• removing sutures after the wound has been checked by a dentist

Dental hygienists do not:
• restore teeth
• carry out pulp treatments 
• adjust unrestored surfaces 
• extract teeth

Other skills are reserved to orthodontic therapists, dental technicians, clinical dental technicians or dentists.