What are your thoughts on having dental assistants who have their coronal polishing license treating pediatric patients vs dental hygienists?
While my dental hygiene career has primarily focused on periodontal patients, the pediatric patients I have seen frequently require removal of calcified biofilm. To that end, polishing those patients without addressing the issue of calculus removal results in an incomplete treatment. Dental assistants who have their coronal polishing license would be more useful for coronal polishing post initial debridement therapy, especially with the availability of low abrasive polishing agents containing ACP and fluoride to enhance mineralization, where “polishing” has taken on a more therapeutic role.
In my personal experience of more than 50 years in clinical practice, pediatric patients can and do have supragingival and subgingival calculus at times. As dental assistants are not allowed to provide scaling of calcareous deposits, this could pose a huge legal malpractice consideration for the supervising dentist if neglected. Most of the high-quality pediatric practices that I have consulted for, have dental hygienists who provide oral examinations, scaling procedures (if necessary), and fluoride application with dental assistants providing the polishing if they are certified to do so.