Dental Hygienist Job Description
Dental hygienists work in dentist offices, where they clean patients’ teeth and examine their mouth for signs of oral diseases.
Dental hygienists also play a huge role in educating patients on ways that they can improve their hygiene and take better care of their teeth.
Responsibilities for dental hygienist jobs include:
- Using dental instruments to clean teeth and gums.
- Using probes to locate signs of gum disease.
- Charting the patients’ teeth so dentists know where to look for signs of decay.
- Applying fluorides and other agents to slow decay and improve dental health.
Work Environment and Schedule
Dental hygienists work in dentist offices, most of which are open only during regular business hours from Monday through Friday.
Workers in this occupation enjoy some of the most flexible schedules available in any profession. The majority of dental hygienists work part time, and many work for more than one dentist.
Since patients may have infectious diseases, it’s important that dental hygienists always take the necessary safety precautions. Surgical masks, safety glasses, and gloves are worn at all times while providing treatment to patients.
How to Become a Dental Hygienist
A state license and an associate’s degree in dental hygiene are required for a career as a dental hygienist. There are more advanced degrees and certificates available, but most employers do not require them.
The licensing requirements vary from state to state, but you should be able to find the licensing information you need on your state’s medical or health board website.
There are currently 181,800 dental hygienists in the United States, with 10,490 new dental hygienist job openings created each year.
Dental Hygienist jobs are not expected to see much growth beyond their current levels in the next decade.
Dental Hygienist Salaries
Dental Hygienist salaries can vary depending on your experience, the location, company, industry, and benefits provided. Nationwide, most dental hygienists make between $57,000 – $83,300 per year, or $27.38 – $40.05 per hour.