Lucija Andrijanic, certified dental hygienist HF in dental practice

Certified dental hygienistLucija Andrijanic

Lucija Andrijanic

Certified dental hygienist. Zurich College of Professional Education and Training

Areas of responsibility of a dental hygienist

The abilities and expertise of a dental hygienist cover a wide variety of fields and are significantly greater in scope than those of a preventive care assistant. A specialist in dental hygiene performs professional teeth cleaning or tartar removal autonomously. Direct daily activities in preventive dentistry include the following tasks:

1.  Assessing and documenting findings for treatment plans and creating an individual treatment plan, in cooperation with the dentist and the patient

2.  Treating gingivitis (inflammation of the gums) and specialization in the care of patients with periodontitis (inflammation of the entire periodontium)

3.  Clinical and X-ray examination of patients with respect to pathological changes to the teeth and gums

4.  Removal of surface discolorations on tooth surfaces, fluoridation of the teeth, and desensitization of sensitive tooth necks

5.  Non-surgical periodontal therapy, with removal of plaque and tartar from tooth and root surfaces and below the gumline (deep scaling)

6.  Professional external tooth bleaching

7.  Polishing of fillings, crowns, and bridges

8.  Removal of plaque and tartar from tooth and root surfaces

9.  Patient counselling, in the sense of motivation for optimal oral hygiene and nutritional advice regarding oral health and abstention from tobacco use

10.  Advance information to the dentists for at-risk patients

11.  Conformance with quality standards

12.  Support for the dentists with health interventions

In addition to the dental aspect and manual skills, interest in general health topics is also indispensable for this career, as dental preventive care and health maintenance are closely related. In addition, interpersonal skills such as good communication and teamwork skills as well as flexibility are needed. In interactions with patients and colleagues, empathy, good observational skills, and patience are helpful, as well as assertiveness and problem-solving skills where needed.

Education of a dental hygienist

In order to begin professional training as a dental hygienist, a person must be 18 years of age and have completed career training and passed an aptitude test. During the three-year education program at one of the four Colleges of Professional Education and Training (HF), students learn theoretical foundations, practice manual skills, and gain psychological underpinnings of working with patients.

Practical work with models and patients as well as an intensive year-long internship at a dental practice round out the education at the college. After successfully passing the exam, the graduates receive the federally recognized title of “Certified Dental Hygienist HF”.

Interns are always welcome and supported at an SSO teaching facility. SSO is the abbreviation for the Società svizzera odontoiatri, Schweizerische Zahnärzte-Gesellschaft, Société suisse des médecins-dentistes, or Swiss Dental Association. Dentists in an SSO practice invest a great deal of time in their ongoing education and understand the maintenance of patients' oral health to be their highest priority. They are able to provide the best support for future and current dental hygienists on their career path. Specialist education during the training program as a dental hygienist is also the responsibility of the SSO.

What happens after graduation from the training program?

Dental hygienists are responsible for treating everyone from small children to seniors. Fully certified dental hygienists work mainly in private practices, but also in residential care facilities, schools, dental clinics, and dental hygienist schools, as well as in industry or as an independent provider in their own practice. Interest in business, including management abilities and mental and physical strength are great advantages in the daily working life of this multifaceted position.

Certified dental hygienists are affiliated with the independent Swiss professional association of Swiss Dental Hygienists. This group represents the professional, social, and economic interests of its members and engages in the topics of education and quality-oriented professional practice. Swiss Dental Hygienists offers various services, such as legal advice and job placement, and pursues effective publicity work.

The dental hygienist ensures dental health and esthetics

The work of a dental hygienist has been proven to promote oral health. Its objective is healthy teeth and gums, in conjunction with esthetic dentition for all patients. Because they treat even difficult cases on their own, dental hygienists work largely independently as part of a team. They support dentists with their expertise in the tasks of preventive dental care.

A preventive examination should be performed twice a year, as this allows cavities and gum diseases to be detected and treated promptly. Especially in the early stages of gum inflammation, progression to a complex inflammatory condition of the periodontium, known as periodontitis, can be prevented by simple means. If gingival pockets have already formed, however, targeted therapy should be performed as soon as possible in order to prevent the infection from spreading to the body.

Find out more directly about the scope of services that a specialist in dental hygiene provides. Do you want to make an appointment for a consultation, professional teeth cleaning, or bleaching? A certified dental hygienist works in our SSO dental practice and will be happy to give you an examination and consultation for an individualized treatment concept. Just give us a call and make an appointment!