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Dental Hygienist Job Description

Dental Hygienist Job Description
Dental hygienists tend to work very closely with dentists in an effort to treat the needs of each patient on an individual basis. While it is important to keep in mind that specific job responsibilities tend to vary based on geographic location and employer preferences, dental hygienists traditionally assume several roles throughout a typical workday.

A degree from a regionally accredited dental hygiene school is a strict requirement for entry into this profession. It is important to note, however, that a license must also be obtained in the state where you plan to work. If you live in a geographic location that might allow you to work in two or three different states, you might strongly consider obtaining a license in each state, as this would provide you with the greatest employment opportunities.

What Does a Dental Hygienist Do?

Some of the most common responsibilities of these professionals include the following:
  • Screening patients individually to review overall health history, dental history, as well as the current oral health condition
  • Taking x-rays and/or impressions of patients’ teeth
  • Providing counseling services to advise patients about dietary and oral care best practices
  • Application of preventive materials such as sealants and fluorides to patients’ teeth
  • Removing plaque from teeth surfaces
  • A periodontal dental hygienist generally focuses on delivering periodontal therapies in addition to performing the job functions listed above. Periodontal conditions are those that involve treatment for gum disease, so the training for these professionals is generally a bit more extensive.

Career Outlook ➣

Dental hygienists are fortunate to be a part of one of the fastest-growing occupations in North America. While the overall job outlook is expected to be quite good for all dental hygienist professionals, competition for jobs in certain geographic locations might be somewhat intense. This is particularly true of larger metropolitan areas, so if you currently live in this type of area, you should be prepared to put your best foot forward during job interviews.

Changes in Employment ➣

The employment figures between now and 2028 are expected to grow by eleven percent, which is far above average as occupations go. This makes dental hygiene among the fastest-growing career fields out there, with the causes being their increased use and growing demand for oral care.
For one thing, the population is growing. For another, older people are keeping their teeth more effectively than they used to. As well, there is an increasing desire to prevent problems instead of simply treating them. Plus, hygienists are increasingly able to perform functions that were once only the purview of dentists. Since oral health and total health are now known to be linked, this means dental hygienist prospects are growing still further.

Job Prospects ➣

Naturally, no two areas are identical for employment prospects. Since a hygienist must be licensed by the state to practice, there will naturally be a large level of competition in some areas than in others.
In the past dentists were less willing to hire dental hygienists, but those dentists are retiring and being replaced by dentists more amicable to the idea. As the workload grows, a given dentist will also be more likely to hire a hygienist for their simpler tasks like cleanings, so they can dedicate their time to performing more complex operations.

Work Environment of a Dental Hygienist ➣

One of the best dental hygienist benefits that newly trained professionals can look forward to is a positive workplace that is filled with highly motivated individuals working in a fast-paced environment. Unlike dentists, a dental hygienist can expect to typically be greeted by patients that are very easy to work with and have a fairly low amount of anxiety concerning the work that the hygienist will be expected to perform. The vast majority of dental hygienists will work standard nine to five business hours and will spend most of their day on their feet processing patients.

Salary Expectations ➣

Salary, of course, is one of those things that is influenced by several different factors. Geographic location is a primary consideration, but other factors come into play as well.
Years of experience
Educational achievements
Type of employer

The number of years of experience that you have as a dental hygienist will drastically impact the salary you are offered. Most employers are willing to pay a higher salary to professionals who have several years of relevant work experience under their belts.
In addition, the higher your level of education, the better your annual salary is likely to be. While it might not seem particularly relevant for this field, many employers are willing to pay a premium for applicants who have achieved educational degrees or certifications that enhance their overall professionalism and marketability.

The type of employer that you find a job with can also have a significant impact on the salary you are offered. Dental offices that are run by just one dentist are likely to offer lower salaries than offices that employ more than one dentist. In other words, the larger the number of people on staff, the higher the salaries tend to be.
Of course, these are all general guidelines. Your unique circumstances, educational background, and professional experiences should all combine to influence not only the types of dental hygienist positions you are offered; but the types of salaries and benefits packages you are offered as well.

Working as a Dental Hygiene Educator ➣

After acquiring a bachelor’s or master’s degree from a well-recognized dental hygienist school, you can work as a dental hygiene educator. Students who aspire to work can receive good knowledge and understanding from a dental hygiene instructor. One can work as an instructor only if he holds a bachelor’s degree and has several years of work experience. Also, if he desires to work as a hygienist, he needs to acquire a license from the state. As an instructor, one needs to have good communication and instruction skills. Here is how you can pursue this career:

Bachelor’s Degree ➣

Many accredited dental hygienist schools in the US offer a bachelor’s degree. Usually, a bachelor’s degree program lasts for four years. Aspiring students should have subjects like chemistry, biology, math, microbiology, and nutrition at both high school and college levels. While studying the bachelor’s degree program, students can gain knowledge on oral healthcare, dental anatomy and pain management. A bachelor’s degree will prepare you to work as a lecturer at the college level. You can study further y enrolling in a master’s degree to work as a professor at the university level.

Acquire Dental Hygienist License ➣

To work as a dental hygienist educator, you need to first work as a dental hygienist and build up several years of work experience. And to work as a hygienist, you need to acquire a license from the state-level board. You will have to clear a written as well as a clinical exam. While studying at dental hygienist school accredited by the Commission on Dental Accreditation, the the institution will train and provide enough guidance that will assist him in appearing for a licensing examination.

Build Work Experience ➣

If you are aiming to work as a dental hygiene instructor, you need to build several years of work experience. You can work on a part-time or full-time basis and gain experience. Since hygienists are allowed to work only in the state from where they have acquired the license, professionals should look forward to gaining experience in that very state. Three to five years of experience as dental hygienists will be enough to seek a dental hygiene educator's job.
Working as a Dental Hygiene Educator
You will be able to work at places like schools and public healthcare centers and deliver training on preventive measures that one needs to adhere to to keep their teeth healthy and clean and provide lectures and presentations on oral health. You can become a part of a faculty member at a college and teach on dental hygiene to the students. The hands-on experience that you gained in your life will help you in providing the best knowledge to aspiring dental hygienists.

Skills Required ➣

To work as a dental hygiene instructor, you should have good communication skills, the ability to create and explain presentations on oral health, and should also possess leadership qualities. You should be fluent in speaking as well as writing in English. You should be able to solve problems and have the knack to understand research studies. You should be able to use various dental equipment and tools.
Dental Hygienist Job Description Dental Hygienist Job Description Reviewed by swapee dee on February 28, 2020 Rating: 5
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