Don’t discredit dental hygienists

Equipment in the dental section of NuMed Centre.
Equipment in the dental section of NuMed Centre.

THE EDITOR: This is in response to a letter published on September 1, headed “Taking care of your teeth,” in which the question was asked, “Are these hygienists qualified?”

We are a graduate group of qualified oral healthcare providers. We have had three years of training and subsequently earned a bachelor’s degree in dental hygiene and dental therapy at The UWI, St Augustine. The Dental Profession Act of TT is yet to be amended so that we can come on board as such. We are temporarily registered as dental nurses and provide services such as oral examination, take and interpret dental X-rays and perform prophylaxis “dental cleanings,” to list a few in a limited capacity.

In many instances, a person will visit an oral healthcare service provider when in pain and in some cases where significant damage has already been done that may require advance treatment, ultimately disregarding dental treatment that should be as important as other medical check-ups.

Periodontal disease is one of the most common dental problems observed in TT? Periodontal disease, also known as gum disease, is an infection of the tissues that surround and support our teeth and which is a major cause of tooth loss in adults.

This disease can be caused by plaque that constantly forms on our teeth. However, other factors can increase the risk of developing gum disease, for instance poor oral hygiene practices, smoking, undiagnosed medical issues, and some medications. Treatment depends on the severity of the disease presented at the time. Unfortunately, we neglect our routine checkups and treatment to the point where tooth removal may be required.

Nonetheless, dental clinics do offer “freeze cleaning,” which we refer to in TT as periodontal therapy, such as root planning, root surface debridement or deep cleaning. Despite this, tooth loss may be inevitable.

We kindly ask that the public not discredit every dental hygienist. Instead, have an open communication with your dental care provider about your concerns and be sure your dental service provider is registered with the Dental Council.


vice president

representing body of

TT graduates of dental

hygienists and therapists


"Don’t discredit dental hygienists"

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