Preliminary exam. Hygienists do several things. X-rays, preliminary examination, prophylaxis, some periodontal procedures, and oral hygiene instructions. In some offices their duties may be more expanded than this list.
A lot. In progressive dental offices, dental hygienists act as co-providers similar to medical physician assistants. They can help provide early diagnosis for dental problems, they provide periodontal (gum) therapies, and also help in some ways with the cosmetic and therapeutic options for the dental office.