A dental hygienist is a licensed dental auxiliary who specializes in preventive dental care, typically but not limited to focusing on techniques in oral hygiene . Local dental regulations determine the duties hygienists are able to perform. In most jurisdictions, hygienists work for a dentist, and are licensed to administer restricted techniques of local anesthesia. Also radiographs, sealants, scaling, root planing and cleaning are common procedures performed by dental hygienists.
In some areas, the dental regulations include extended duties and exemptions for dental hygienists. Some hygienists are allowed to practice without dentist supervision, use restricted bleaching techniques, and in some areas are even allowed to restore teeth using restricted classes of fillings.