A registered dental hygienist (RDH) is a licensed dental professional who specializes in preventive oral health, typically focusing on techniques in oral hygiene. Local dental regulations determine the scope of practice of dental hygienists. In most jurisdictions, hygienists work for a dentist, and some are licensed to administer local anesthesia. Common procedures performed by hygienists include cleanings known as prophylaxis, scaling and root planing for patients with periodontal disease, taking of prescribed radiographs, dental sealants, administration of fluoride, and providing instructions for proper oral hygiene and care. The dental hygiene process of care has five steps: Over a period of months or years, a dental hygienist may evaluate the client's conditions several times, altering the diagnosis and plan as the client's condition changes.
Contributions by Bouncingmolar, Logical Cowboy, and Dozenist.