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Free Content Dental Hygienists' Role in Patient Assessments and Clinical Examinations in U.S. Dental Practices: A Review of the Literature

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Dental hygienists are licensed primary oral healthcare professionals, oral health educators and clinicians who provide preventive, educational, and therapeutic services to support total health through oral health promotion. Performance of patient assessments and oral examinations are part of dental hygienists' educational preparation and standards of care. Oral health examinations are one of if not the most important services provided by dental professionals. The vast majority of dental hygienists are employed in private practices and there is no standardization of scope of practice and role expectations of dental hygienists among states in the U.S. Therefore, it is unclear to what extent dental hygienists perform oral examinations and whether the examinations are shared by hygienists and dentists. This paper reviews the literature to identify what we know and what we don't know about this important role of dental hygienists. Issues surrounding this topic are discussed, followed by recommendations for our profession.

Document Type: Research Article

Publication date: March 1, 2010

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  • The Journal of Allied Health is the official publication of the Association of Schools of Allied Health Professions (ASAHP). The Journal is the only interdisciplinary allied health periodical, publishing scholarly works related to research and development, feature articles, research abstracts and book reviews. Readers of the Journal comprise allied health leaders, educators, faculty and students.
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