Dental hygienist jobs can be extremely rewarding and interesting and can provide a defined career path both for practitioners and academics. Being a dental hygienist is a highly esteemed profession and requires a high level of study and dedication. Indeed, a dental hygienist is amongst the top professionals in the field of dentistry and as such attracts one of the highest salaries. It is fair to say that the average salary for a dental hygienist is far from average with some dental hygienist salary reaching six figures based on an average 40 hour working week.

There are currently a lot of jobs for dental hygienist available due to the increase in respect for the work of this practitioner. It is expected the dental hygienist profession will continue to grow as the dentistry world and patients continues to recognize the importance of preventative oral health care.

The below information provides a succinct guide to the essentials of how to become a dental hygienist, including the qualification requirements for the role, the anticipated dental hygiene salary, the dental hygienist duties and the types of dental hygienist jobs available. This information should help you with your decision as to whether to consider a future and a dental hygienist and explains the steps necessary to achieve this ambition.

What Will My Job Entail If I Consider Dental Hygienist Jobs?

The dental hygienist duties are varied and interesting and as a dental hygienist you should have a leading role in managing preventative oral health in your dental practice.

Dental hygiene duties include, amongst others, the following specialized tasks:

  • Educating patients about how to maintain their oral hygiene
  • Helping patients to maintain their oral hygiene
  • Undertakes preventative work and procedures on the mouth, teeth and gums such as cleaning and polishing and removal of calculus on the teeth
  • Providing a supportive role to dentists by providing oral hygiene healthcare at all stages of procedures including pre, during and post oral hygiene healthcare.

Whilst dental hygienists are not responsible for spotting disease and illness in the mouth and gums, such as ulcers or cancers, as this responsibility lies with the dentist, a dental hygienist should provide a supportive roll and highlight any areas of concern to other staff for action. Dental hygienists will be trained in how to assess for disease or infection.

These tasks of a dental hygienist will usually be undertaken as part of a team of professionals including dentists, dental assistants and dental laboratory technicians however there are some other ways in which you can work as a dental hygienist.

In practice the dental hygienist in a dental practice or other environment will play a vital role in preventing oral health issues for dental patients. The dental hygienist will remove plaque and tartar deposits through descaling and the dental hygienist will also polish teeth. Dental hygienists in some but not all states will be responsible for applying anesthetic ointments or other topical dental treatment should as fluoride and tooth sealant. It is worthwhile checking out what procedures may be performed by which professionals in the dental industry according to state of registration as this can be different across the U.S.

What Qualifications Are Required To Apply For Dental Hygienist Jobs?

Completing a dental hygiene program is a legal requirement if you wish to become a dental hygienist. The process is reasonably straight forward with either a four year course required to practice with a mix of course work, practical work and examinations or if you have a first degree in another subject you can take a two year course.

These courses are provided by a range of universities, colleges, institutions and online providers and the dental hygiene program is now easily accessible across the whole of the U.S. Dental Hygiene programs are only available to those with a high school diploma and for acceptance on a two year course, you need to have a first degree in a science related subject.

These courses and exams are provided under close supervision from the American Dental Hygienist Association and the Associations of Dentists in America.

There are also some advanced courses available for dental hygienist jobs which have also been accredited by the ADHA and the ADA. These courses are well worth considering if you want to advance in dental hygiene or to branch out from dental hygiene in a dental practice.

A dental hygienist also has to be licensed in the state within which they are operating. The licensing procedure is different in every state, however most licensing procedures involve a written and practical assessment before a practitioner can be licensed. It is usual for most states to request that this registration is renewed every two years.

What Are My Career Options If I Take A Dental Hygienist Role?

As previously noted, there is currently a demand for dental hygienists and there are many different fields in which you can work once you have been accredited. Most dental hygienists work in private dental practices; however there are a number of dental hygienist government jobs which may mean providing preventative oral health treatment and care in schools. It is also possible to work as a dental hygienist in the armed forces if you prefer more challenge.

Dental hygienist jobs may also be based in hospitals should you be undergoing a more serious dental procedure. Dental hygienist jobs may also be available in the community.
An accreditation in dental hygiene can also start your career in another direction such as teaching in dental hygiene schools, delivering training in dental hygiene or even working in industry taking a leading role in the development of dental hygiene products or in the sales workforce.

The job role of dental hygienist has a fantastic potential for success. Whilst there are many dental hygienist jobs on the job market at the moment; there are also many opportunities to make the job of dental hygienist your own and to excel at what you do.

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