According to Chapter 447 of Wisconsin statutes, Section 447.01(3) (a-g), dental hygiene means:

(a) Removing supragingival or subgingival calcareous deposits, subgingival cement or extrinsic stains from a natural or restored surface of or a fixed replacement for a human tooth.

(b) Deep scaling or root planing a human tooth.

(c) Conditioning a human tooth surface in preparation for the placement of a sealant and placing a sealant.

(d) Conducting a substantive medical or dental history interview or preliminary examination of a dental patient’s oral cavity or surrounding structures, including the preparation of a case history or recording of clinical findings.

(e) Conducting an oral screening without the written prescription of a dentist.

(f) Participating in the development of a dental patient’s dental hygiene treatment plan.

(g) Any other practice specified in the rules promulgated under s. 447.02 (1) (d).

Section 447.06(2) (d) states: “A dental hygienist may not diagnose a dental disease or ailment, determine a treatment or any regimen of any treatment outside of the scope of dental hygiene, prescribe or order medication or perform any procedure that involves the intentional cutting of soft or hard tissue of the mouth by any means.”

The use of high speed hand-pieces by hygienists has been brought up several times in terms of use to remove orthodontic cement. Upon further clarification to the DEB, it has been stated that a hygienist can use a high speed hand piece to remove cement (this would not be needed to remove calculus though) and is within the scope to do as long as the hygienist has been properly trained on using the tool in this capacity and feels comfortable doing so. In the end, remember that it is the licensed personnel that holds the most responsibility to know if they are practicing within their scope.