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A member asked:

Why does a dental hygienist do my teeth cleaning? it's always kind of bothered me that a hygienist and not my dentist does my cleaning. my dentist usually just shows up for a couple minutes at the end. why is this?

4 doctor answers4 doctors weighed in
Dr. Lee Patalowski
Specializes in Dentistry
Dental : Dental hygienist are specifically trained to do cleanings along with many other procedures. They are vital part of the dental team under the supervision of a dentist. Depending on the state, hygienists are not legally allowed to diagnose a problem but only to describe it. Therefore, the dentist will do an exam during your visit to diagnose any problems that may be present. In some dental offices, a dentist may do your cleaning. In our office, for example, a dentist can do your cleaning by request but an additional fee may occur if it is case which would typically be done by one of the dental hygienists. Hope this helps.
Dr. Jonathan Scharf
Cosmetic Dentistry 49 years experience
Actually, : Actually, hygienists probably do a better job of cleaning because in some ways, they specialize in just that! they have spent many hours training to perform this proceduere. Additionally, the cost of dental care can be contained by delegating certain responsibilities to other members of the dental team, and this is a perfect example of that. In my office our patients love the hygienists and we always get rave reviews about their cleanings.
Dr. Zev Kaufman
Cosmetic Dentistry 27 years experience
Unfortunately, : Unfortunately, it is an issue of economics. In a well run practice, each team member will do the procedures in which they specialize. Once a dentist gets too busy to do the cleaning him/herself, he/she usually delegates that responsibility to his/her hygienist. There are plenty of offices where a dentist will clean your teeth, and they usually charge accordingly. If the dentist is so busy that he/she cannot spend the time, a hygienist can, and usually is, just as effective. It is what the hygienist goes to school for. In addition, most people are very comfortable having a hygienist clean and maintain their oral health and have the dentist supervise the care. In that case, you are getting the benefit of two people examining and checking your mouth. At the same token, some dentists pride themselves on the fact that they clean and maintain their patients personally. Their patients obviously prefer that. It is a very personal decision. Only you can decide how you want to be treated. If you do not like the hygienist, you might want to discuss the issue with your dentist.
Dr. Kenneth Grossman
A Verified Doctoranswered
A US doctor answeredLearn more
Highly Qualified: They are specifically trained and educated to do this. My experience in being a dentist and dental specialist( endodontist) for 42 yrs., is that they do a better job at cleaning teeth than we do because they do it all day long!

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Last updated Oct 3, 2016

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