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The majority of hygienists in the UK work as self-employed general practitioners from dental practices and clinics, either privately, through the National Health Service or both.
Their job is specifically centred on oral cleanliness, cleaning teeth and gums and teaching patients the best way to maintain optimum oral hygiene in order to prevent cavities, decay and gum diseases such as periodontal disease or gingivitis.
They carry out routine procedures, including cleaning, scaling, polishing and coating of patients’ teeth with fluorides and sealants.
The dentist, hygienists and administrators will keep and update patients’ dental records, including x-rays and casts.
Hygienists may sometimes be required to supervise oral surgery or advanced orthodontic procedures in hospitals.
To ensure patients are being given the best possible treatment, all dentists and dental care professionals are required by the General Dental Council to undertake a minimum of 250 hours of CPD across a five-year post-registration cycle. CPD could involve any number of activities, including attending seminars or lectures, distance or multimedia learning, private study, peer assessment or research.
Continual Professional Development covers a number of areas relevant to all dental care professionals, the three core subjects of which are dealing with medical emergencies, disinfection and radiography and radiation.
For more information about Continual Professional Development please visit the General Dental Council