The use of technology in the practice of dental hygiene has become increasingly important in recent years. From office management software to needleless anesthesia, hygienists are now able to provide more efficient and effective care to their patients. AI has the potential to revolutionize the entire dental industry, from diagnosis to treatment. In addition, hygienists can now communicate directly with their patients through office management software, and use tools such as dental magnifiers with headlights to reduce fatigue and increase visibility.
The ability to review up-to-date patient records and view images in the office is a great convenience for hygienists, while also improving the overall efficiency of the office and patient satisfaction. Keeping up with the constant flow of new technologies can be a challenge, but much of this technology has incredible potential to improve hygiene, not only by expanding the scope of work, but also by increasing and expanding opportunities in the profession. AI has the potential to affect the entire dental industry, from standardizing diagnosis to revolutionizing treatment. Many of the major office management software systems also allow hygienists to communicate directly with their patients.
For example, preoperative images or CT scans taken during the dental hygiene visit could save the dentist time during the restorative phase of the treatment plan, at which point the dentition can be easily re-imaged (as needed) before the dentist prepares the tooth (figure). Other common forms of needleless anesthesia include electronic dental anesthesia, jet injectors, iontophoresis and the comfort control syringe. Traditionally, most dental hygienists met their continuing education requirements by attending in-person conferences or completing online self-learning courses. Now, offices are turning to hygienists to take greater responsibility in managing and deploying these tools. Even beyond the pandemic, teledentistry offers a convenient way for patients to continue dedicating themselves to their dental care between in-person appointments. Technology helps improve patients' oral care, improves their understanding of dentistry and oral health, and makes the dental hygienist's role much easier.
Ultimately, the ability of the dental team to visualize, design and mill restorations can increase office productivity. Dental magnifiers with headlights, which reduce fatigue and increase visibility, are now lighter and more comfortable for hygienists. Dimensions of Dental Hygiene is a monthly peer-reviewed journal that reconnects practicing dental hygienists with leading educators and researchers. After a thirty-year career in dental hygiene, Suzanne is now creating non-clinical projects that include professional improvements, public health initiatives and patient education. The use of technology in dental hygiene is essential for providing efficient and effective care for patients. By staying up-to-date on new technologies and tools available for hygienists, they can continue to expand their scope of work and increase opportunities in their profession.