Dental hygienists work closely with dentists to help patients improve and maintain their oral health. Reviewing the duties and prerequisites of dental hygienists might help you decide if this is the ideal career option for you, if you’re interested in becoming one.
If you want to work as a dental hygienist, you have to get a certificate. At the very least, this certification will take two years. If you want to continue your education, you can enroll in classes to get a bachelor’s or master’s degree. This means that it could take anywhere from two to six years to become a dental hygienist.
The Bureau of Labor Statistics estimates that from 2018 through 2028, It is anticipated that dental offices will require an additional 11% of dental hygienists to fill open vacancies.
What is the role of a dental hygienist?
Under the direction of a dentist, a dental hygienist focuses on oral health. They put a lot of emphasis on preventive oral health care by cleaning patients’ teeth, checking their gums, getting their medical histories, and telling them how to improve their oral health.
They also do basic dental procedures like flossing well and getting rid of plaque, tartar, and other common stains. Other typical tasks comprise: examining patients’ lymph nodes for edema and spotting oral cancer symptoms
- Gum examination and periodontal disease detection with probing
- recording signs of oral disease for the dentist to analyze and determine
- giving patients local anesthesia before their operations
- making use of a variety of hand, power, and ultrasonic tools
- patient X-ray procedures
- Organizing, cleaning, and sterilizing dental equipment
- patient treatment with fluorides and other anti-decay substances
- collaborating between a dental assistant and a dentist
- creating and maintaining patient dental hygiene programs
How to get a dental hygienist job near you
To become a dental hygienist, you must fulfill specific educational and licensing criteria. To start your profession, follow these four steps:
1. Finish a course of study or a degree program
The Commission on Dental Accreditation (CODA) is the only accrediting body recognized by the US Department of Education. It has given accreditation to more than 300 community colleges, technical schools, dental schools, and universities. These institutions offer dental hygiene education programs.
Before you can be accepted into their programs, many demand prerequisite courses. For most dental hygienists, an associate’s degree is the entry-level curriculum. It can be taken at community colleges, technical schools, or dental schools that are approved, and it usually takes at least two years to finish.
Bachelor’s degree programs at colleges normally take four years to complete. For jobs in school clinics or public health, a bachelor’s degree might be necessary. CODA requires that all certified programs teach four important subjects: general education, biological sciences, dental sciences, and dental hygiene science.
Courses on dental diseases, dental health concepts, and dental research are offered in several four-year schools. Along with classroom and laboratory teaching, you’ll also get practical clinical training that includes hours of under-watched patient care.
2. Get a license from the state
Before starting work, hygienists must obtain a license from their state. Contact the Board of Dental Examiners in your state for more on the requirements.
Most states call for Diploma from a program or organization that has accreditation. Obtaining a passing grade on the Joint Commission on National Dental Examinations’ National Board Dental Hygiene Examination (JCNDE).
3. Passing a state- or regional-level clinical board exam
You could be regarded as a completely licensed and registered dental hygienist once you’ve finished these three steps. You can start filling out employment applications and cleaning our teeth. Depending on the state where you are licensed, you may also need to renew your license every one to three years.
4. Think about getting more training
Consider earning a master’s degree in dental hygiene if you want to work in research, education, or administration. You must finish a capstone project and some programs can last up to two years.
In order to keep their licenses, dental hygienists must also complete continuing education requirements. They stay current with fresh information on dental health care thanks to the courses.
5. Update your résumé and look for work
When you obtain your dental hygiene license, you should update your resume to reflect your new qualifications in terms of education, training, and experience. Dental schools, professional association websites, and internet job boards all provide information about opportunities.
What does a dental hygienist typically make?
Where do dental hygienist get paid the most? Dental hygienist salaries vary depending on experience level, region, and job status. The average yearly income in the US is $86,183, or $41.73 per hour and the highest salaries based on location can be found in the United States of America.
What abilities must a dental hygienist possess in order to succeed?
To succeed in their jobs, dental hygienists need a number of talents. The most prevalent abilities are:
Communication is key to providing patients with the best care possible. You must explain to them each step of the dental procedure as you go.
Using critical thinking, you must be able to evaluate patients, create oral hygiene care regimens, and analyze their needs.
As a dental hygienist, you will use a lot of sharp tools, therefore you must be able to control them and utilize them effectively to prevent hurting the patients or yourself. While seated in the dental chair, many patients experience anxiety.
They need to be treated with kindness and attention so they can be calmed in order to achieve a smooth treatment. Pay close attention to the smallest of details when doing dental hygiene on patients’ teeth and gums. Each anomaly must be carefully observed so that you can document your findings and give them to the dentist for an accurate diagnosis.
In what locations do dental hygienists usually work?
The majority of dental hygienists work for general or specialty dentists. About 94% of dentists work in dental offices, according to the United States Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS). Additionally, they can find work at community health centers, hospitals, public schools, dental clinics, and training programs for dental hygiene. Others decide to investigate dental product and equipment firms or get into sales.