The Role of the Dental Hygienist and Dental Implants

I was struck this morning by the in adequacy of training in implant dentistry for some of my dental colleagues. I accept referrals and every week I am sent patients from other practices. I help to diagnose problems, and try to help them by placing implants and their associated restorations if it is in the interests of the patient.

One of the treatments that I am very firm about following the placement of implants, is that the patient visits a hygienist every three months without fail.  Hygienists, are the first line of defence for all dental health, but especially for dental implants. I heard from one of my patients that her hygienist ”won’t touch them ”  and this really begins to worry me. The issue without doubt, is one of training or the lack of it, not the lack of ability. It should be the very first thing that hygienists examine when they are looking at a patient’s overall dental health. Having serial six point pocket charts are absolutely essential to be able to assess teeth, and implants in the long-term.

The need for hygienists to understand what type of implant they are dealing with, and where and how to probe them, and to be able to diagnose problems, is essential for every hygienist. Any colleagues who find their knowledge lacking, and would like help, you are more than welcome to attend my training programs.