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Dental Hygiene

Career Information

Job Titles

  • Registered Dental  Hygienist
    Treatment provider for routine patient care.  Treatment provider for beginning to advanced stages of periodontal disease.
    Job Tasks:  Traditional and Digital Radiography. Administers local anesthetic and Nitrous Oxide.   
  • Periodontal Maintenance  Specialist
    Work in a periodontal specialist practice.
    Job Tasks:  Traditional and Digital Radiography. Administers local anesthetic and Nitrous Oxide.     
  • Dental Hygiene Educator
    With a Bachelor or Master Degree; perform DH classroom lecture or oversee clinical instruction with students.
  • Dental Research and Development 
    Work in development and research of new dental products for hygiene schools and dental practices.

  • Dental Instrument and Supplies
    Work for manufactures of Hygiene instruments and Supplies. 

Traits Needed

  • Aptitudes:
    Must be able to verbalize in a clear manner, the science of dental hygiene and physically demonstrate the related clinical skills.
  • Interests: 
    Continuing education. Desire to educate others. Be a mentor to those in the field.

  • Temperament:
    A high level of professionalism is required to exemplify the qualities of a dental hygienist. A hygienist should be patient, impartial, and calm with a continued desire to learn and improve. 

Career and Salary Options-Typical Entry Level

Clinical Dental Hygienist: $28.00 - $45.00 hr. (depending on weekly hours and the state you practice in)

Working Conditions

The working conditions are good, hours are flexible.  The environment is a clean and well designed with quality equipment and technology available.

However, dental hygiene students will have both a professional and legal obligation to provide dental hygiene treatment through implementation of the highest standards of infection control as possible. Strict adherence to the principles and practices of infection control will ensure the standard of care and practice expected by the practitioner, patient, and public alike.

UNIVERSAL/STANDARD PRECAUTIONS, as defined by Mason (1997), on behalf of the CDC, are a set of precautions designed to prevent transmission of human immunodeficiency virus (HIV), hepatitis B virus (HBV), and other bloodborne pathogens when providing first aid or health care. Under universal precautions, blood and certain body fluids of all patients are considered potentially infectious for HIV, HBV and other bloodborne pathogens.  The universal precautions are listed in detail at: http://www.cdc.gov/mmwr/preview/mmwrhtml/00000039.htm

Physical Demands

Physical working demands of a dental hygienist include manual dexterity, stamina and concentration. Educational demands are high. Graduation from a dental hygiene school does not guarantee the chance to practice dental hygiene. After graduation a dental hygienist must pass an 8 hour written National Dental Hygiene Examination and a Clinical Board Examination (scaling a quadrant of calculus to remove tarter off of a live patients teeth). A written and clinical Anesthesia examination (clinical exam is a demonstration of an injection on a live patient). After successfully passing these examinations a candidate is eligible to take the state Jurisprudence test, this is the ethics and laws that pertain to each state.

Job Outlook 

Most projections for and dental hygienist in the profession are that there is a shortage and will continue to be shortages for dental hygienist for several years to come, as long as periodontal disease goes untreated.  It is a job that can be practiced anywhere in the U.S.  Some positions come with benefits and bonus systems.