You may have heard the saying ?No man/woman is an island.? The same can be said when providing dental hygiene care for a client. Though the treatment aspect of dental hygiene (the actual scaling for example) is completed by the dental hygienist, he/she is part of a bigger team, all for the best interest of the client. Within the dental practise there is one team on which the dental hygienist plays; collaborating with the dentist and other colleagues within the office. It is within this setting that the client’s initial treatment plan is created and followed through, providing the client with options for care.
There is a second network of health care professionals the dental hygienist may also collaborate with. These professionals typically work outside the general dental office setting. Should abnormalities be found in the oral cavity of an individual, for example, as in a lesion, the dental hygienist plays a key role in not only identifying the abnormality, but also in initiating the collaborative process between healthcare professionals. In such a situation, a referral would be made to an oral pathologist who further investigates the situation. Other collaborations may be required between medical specialists, as in cardiologists or even massage therapists where a client may be referred to assist with temporomandibular joint dysfunction (discomfort at the joint where the lower jaw is hinged to the skull).
Dental hygienists are team players; within and outside the dental office’.all for the best interest of the client!