Dental Hygienists Career

The work of a dental hygienist is to remove hard and soft deposits from teeth. They provide instructions to patients on dental care such as how to practice good oral hygiene. They also provide patient other preventive dental care. A dental hygienist inspects patient's gums and teeth and records the presence of abnormalities or diseases.

Job Prospect of Dental Hygienists

In the dental hygienist career, they use different tools to perform their tasks. Rotary instruments, hand instruments, and ultrasonic devices are used to polish and clean teeth comprising of removing stains, calculus, and plaque. A dental hygienist use x-ray machines to take dental pictures. Sometimes, they use x-ray machines to prepare and develop the film.

Dental hygienists may use models of teeth to perform root planning, describe oral hygiene, and apply cavity-preventative agents like pit and fluorides and fissure sealants. In many states, dental hygienists are permitted to manage anesthetics. They oversee local anesthetics using syringes. In some states, dental hygienists position and carve temporary fillings, filling materials, and periodontal dressings, polish and smooth metal restorations, and remove sutures.

Dental hygienists help patients to maintain and develop good oral health. For instance, hygienists may describe the relationship between oral teeth and diet or instruct patients how to choose toothbrushes. They also demonstrate how to floss and brush their teeth. Sometimes, dental hygienists make a diagnosis. They also prepare laboratory and clinical diagnostic tests for the dentist to understand. Sometimes, dental hygienists need to work chair side during treatment with the dentist.

Work Environment

Generally, dental hygienists work in spacious, clean, and pleasant offices. Health safeguards consist of strict adherence to appropriate radiological procedures and the use of the right protective devices while administering anesthetic gas. Dental hygienists need to wear surgical masks, gloves, and safety glasses to protect themselves as well as patients from transferable diseases.

Dental hygienists work in a flexible schedule. Part-time, full-time, weekend, and evening schedules are extensively available. Some dentists employ hygienists to work only two to three hours a week. Thus, dental hygienists may work with many dental offices. Approximately half of all dental hygienists work part-time. Candidates interested to work part-time; dental hygienist is the right occupation for them.

Educational Qualification

Candidates who wish to get into this field need to have license in the state where they plan to practice. Prospective dental hygienists ought to have a degree from a recognized dental hygiene school with licensure examination.

Candidates who wish to get admission to a dental hygiene program need to appear for the entrance exam. High school students who are interested in the profession of dental hygienists ought to take courses in mathematics, biology, and chemistry. However, some programs in dental hygiene require candidates to have finished minimum one year of college. The specific entrance exam may differ from one school to another. A dental hygienist has to carry out following responsibilities.

Responsibilities of Dental Hygienists

Many dental hygiene programs grant relevant degree, however, some offer a master's degree, a bachelor's degree, or a certificate. In some private dental offices, a dental hygienist must have a certification in dental hygiene or a relevant degree for practice. Generally, a master's or bachelor's degree is required for teaching, research, and clinical practice in school and public health programs.

Many schools offer clinical, laboratory, and classroom instructions in various subjects such as physiology, microbiology, anatomy, chemistry, nutrition, pharmacology, histology, radiography, periodontology, dental materials, pathology, clinical dental hygiene, behavioral and social sciences.


A dental hygienist should be licensed by the state wherein they practice. Almost all states need candidates to graduate from a recognized dental hygiene school and clear clinical and written exam. The American Dental Association's Joint Commission on National Dental Examinations controls the written exam. This exam is accepted by all states and Columbia District. The regional testing agencies or states govern the clinical exam. Additionally, many states require an exam on the legal elements of dental hygiene practice. A dental hygienist must have good communication skills as they need to work closely with dental assistants and dentist.

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