Dental Hygienists Career Description
Dental hygienists careers are among the fastest growing professions. To become a dental hygienist one must earn a degree from an accredited dental hygiene school or from an online university. The dental hygienist works with the dentist to meet the needs of patients. Every state has their own specific policy so the type of services that the hygienist provides will vary. In general dental hygienists careers involve cleaning teeth and orally examining patients for signs of disease. They also examine the head, and neck for signs of oral disease. Dental hygienists usually teach patients proper oral hygiene techniques such as flossing, teeth brushing and proper nutrition. Dental hygienists also take and develop X-rays and apply preventative materials such as fluoride and sealants to the teeth as well as chart dental records, take the pulse and blood pressure of the patient and remove calculus and plaque from all areas of the teeth and make teeth impressions for study casts.
How to Become a Dental Hygienist
Currently there are about 280 accredited dental hygiene programs available at many college campuses and online. There are Associate’s degree, bachelor's degree and master’s degree courses available. Almost every state requires the dental hygienists to graduate from an accredited dental hygiene school and they must also pass a written and clinical exam. In addition to being educated dental hygienists must also become licensed in the State in which they choose to practice.
Opportunities and Earning Potential
More than half of dental hygienists work part time. Flexible scheduling is a common in this profession. There are full-time, part-time, evening and weekend schedules readily available. Hygienists are in high demand and often find work in dentist offices but they also work in hospitals, nursing homes and public health facilities.
How Much Does a Dental Hygienist Make - Dental Hygienist Salaries
Dental hygienists salaries vary from state to state. The average first year dental hygienists salary is $45,000 but the earning potential grows with experience.