Laser applications for the dental hygienist
There are several procedures that have been approved as procedures that a dental hygienist can use in their realm of therapy with their dental hygiene license and within the state that they reside. It is vitally important that each person review the regulations, bylaws, and restrictions within their state to ensure proper use of the laser.
It is important that the hygienist takes the time to understand their respective State Practice Act (SPA). It is the responsibility of each dental hygienist. If the state allows lasers to be used in the hands of a dental hygienist, they should verify if training is needed prior to use.
The most common procedure that is routinely used by the dental hygienist is periodontal therapy. It is commonly used in addition to what has previously been called scaling and root planning (SRP). The objective of SRP, otherwise known as conventional periodontal therapy or nonsurgical periodontal therapy, is to remove or eliminate the etiologic agents that cause inflammation (i.e., dental plaque, its products, and calculus), thus helping to establish a periodontium that is free of disease.
Because in periodontal disease, pockets form that are deeper than the usual gingival depth, such SRP is often referred to as deep cleaning and may be performed using a number of dental tools, including ultrasonic instruments and hand instruments such as periodontal scalers and curettes.
Removal of adherent plaque and calculus with hand instruments can also be performed on patients without periodontal disease. This treatment would then be referred to simply as scaling. A prophylaxis refers to the polishing that is sometimes done after the SRP are complete. Polishing does not remove calculus, only plaque, and should therefore only be done after all calculus has been removed or the calculus will get burnished onto the tooth. A curettage procedure could once also be completed; however, this is no longer an accepted procedure. It was the removal of diseased—and healthy—tissue, using a curette against the tissue/>