Dental Hygienist Career
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What a Dental Hygienist does:
A Dental Hygienist is licensed to perform clinical tasks in a Dental Clinic. Many dental practices only hire a dental hygienist to work one or two days per week. Over one half of dental hygienists in the U.S. work part time which makes this a flexible career for many. Others Hygienists work in more than one dental office.
The main duties of a Dental Hygienist include:
- Examining patients teeth and gums
- Documenting the presence of oral disease
- Administering preventive dental care
- Removing calculus, stains and plaque
- Educating patients on good oral hygiene
- Obtaining a patients dental records
- Administering local anesthetics
Education & Qualifications:
To become a qualified dental hygienist you must complete a degree in Dental Hygiene from an accredited school. You must them complete the licensure requirements of the state in which you wish to work. Having your high school diploma is a prerequisite for enrolling in a Dental Hygiene program. If you are interested in a career as a dental hygienist you should take high school courses in chemistry, biology and mathematics.
The Commission on Dental Accreditation (CODA) provides accreditation for suitable Dental Hygiene Programs. If you complete a program accredited by CODA you can rest assured that the skills you have learned are up to date and your qualification will be recognized nationwide.
Typical subjects studied in a Dental Hygiene program include: physiology, anatomy, chemistry, pharmacology, microbiology, nutrition, histology (tissue structure), radiography, periodontology (gum disease), dental materials, pathology, clinical dental hygiene, and social and behavioral sciences.
A dental hygienist must be licensed by the state in which he/she wishes to practice. In most states you can gain licensure by graduating from an accredited dental hygiene program and passing a written and clinical examination. The American Dental Association’s (ADA) Joint Commission on National Dental Examinations administers the written examination. This licensure examination is accepted by all States and the Distrait of Columbia.
Salary & Job Prospects:
Dental Hygienists can earn salaries between $50,000 and $80,000 depending on experience, qualifications and location. As the work for dentist’s increases, more dental hygienists are likely to be employed. Dental Hygienists can perform routine dental tasks such as cleaning, while Dentists can concentrate on more complex tasks.
Find an Allied Health School near you:
Use the Further Your Career zip code search box to find schools and colleges in your area that offer alliedhealth / medical technology programs.
Below is a list of some of the various types of allied health careers / professions: