J Dent Hyg Sci.  2020 Mar;20(1):34-43. 10.17135/jdhs.2020.20.1.34.

The Dentists’ View of Dental Hygienist Duties in Korea

Affiliations
  • 1Department of Dental Hygiene, Daejeon Health Institute of Technology, Daejeon 34504, Korea
  • 2Department of Dental Hygiene, Gumi University, Gumi 39213, Korea
  • 3Department of Dental Hygiene, Gwangju Health University, Gwangju 62287, Korea
  • 4Department of Dental Hygiene, Daejeon Institute of Science and Technology, Daejeon 35408, Korea
  • 5Department of Dental Hygiene, College of Dentistry, Research Institute of Oral Science, Gangneung-Wonju National University, Gangneung 25457, Korea
  • 6Department of Dental Hygiene, College of Medical Science, Konyang University, Daejeon 35365, Korea

Abstract

Background
The number and curriculum of dental hygienists in Korea have dramatically increased. Controversies have since resulted from insufficient job descriptions of the work performed by a dental hygienist. A dentist's perception was examined to legally reflect the actual work of dental hygienists.
Methods
Four hundred and nineteen dentists were surveyed about the duties of a dental hygienist. Their views on the career and availability of each job were examined. The duties of the dental hygienist include 13 items in dental treatment preparation, 14 items of radiography, 21 items of preventive dentistry, 6 items of periodontal treatment, 12 items of oral medicine, 12 items of conservative dentistry, 8 items of prosthetics, 10 items of orthodontics, 7 items of oral and maxillofacial surgery, 6 items of implantation, 6 items of impression taking and model fabrication, 5 items of anesthesia and injection, 11 items of management and administrative, and 3 items of self-development.
Results
Most of the duties were doable by a dental hygienist. Many dentists reported that managing implants, oral hygiene of special patients, some duties in oral medicine, teeth brightening, making temporary crowns, making individual trays, selecting shades, ligaturing, and precision impressions need ≥3 years of experience. Duties perceived by dentists not to be performed by dental hygienists were reading radiographs (55.4%), suture and stitch out (48.0%), intramuscular injection (36.0%), root planning (27.2%), cementation and removal of prostheses (23.2%), and examining pulp vitality (22.0%).
Conclusion
Current laws are to be revised to include, the care provided by dental hygienists and under a physician’s supervision. Flexibility is also needed to cope with rapidly changing dental technology.

Keyword

Dental hygienists; Dentists; Task performance and analysis
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