If you have booked a Direct Access Appointment to see a Dental Hygienist without first seeing a dentist, we must ensure you know the hygienist you will see is a trained professional with a wide skill set, but not a dentist, prior to your appointment.
What is direct access?
We have arrangements that allow patients to see a hygienist without treatment being prescribed by a dentist. Direct access offers greater flexibility and choice for many patients, whether you are an existing or new patient looking for treatment. Due to NHS regulations direct access is only available to patients paying privately.
What does a hygienist do?
They deliver direct access treatments within their Scope of Practice, individual knowledge, skills and experience to practice safely and effectively in the best interests of patients.
What do patients need to know?
Direct access appointments and treatments are available to new patients as well as existing patients. Whether you are offered a direct access appointment will depend on your treatment needs and your preference
Hygienists use the same quality of materials as dentists and are supported by an equal level of nursing and administrative assistance.
Hygienists have a wide skill set but are not dentists. Therefore it is not always possible to offer appointments under direct access to all patients, or for all treatment needs.
Sometimes a hygienist needs to refer a patient to a dentist. A hygienist will explain the reasons for the referral and ask the patient for consent to refer. The reasons for the referral, and the patient’s consent or refusal, are noted in the patient’s clinical records. If the patient declines to see a dentist, the hygienist will use their clinical experience and judgement to decide whether to continue to offer direct access or treatment to that patient.
Dental Hygienists are trained to carry out clinical examinations and oral cancer screening. Hygienists assess the health of your gums, providing preventative oral care advice. They work to prevent and treat gum disease with scaling and polishing to remove hard deposits and plaque. Oral care advice can include demonstrating correct flossing and brushing, as well as other oral hygiene techniques according to your personal requirements. They also offer dietary advice and other information, such as how to give up smoking. Research shows that patients who regularly visit the Hygienist suffer from fewer dental problems in the long term.
Our teams work closely together. If your hygienist finds you require treatment beyond their scope of practice, or identifies a concern that needs further investigation, they will refer you to the dentist, or a relevant health practitioner, for advice and guidance.