What Do Dental Hygienist Do?
Job Description & Duties Clean teeth and examine oral areas, head, and neck for signs of oral disease. May educate patients on oral hygiene, take and develop x rays, or apply fluoride or sealants.
Daily Life Of a Dental Hygienist
- Make impressions for study casts.
- Apply fluorides or other cavity preventing agents to arrest dental decay.
- Feel lymph nodes under patient’s chin to detect swelling or tenderness that could indicate presence of oral cancer.
- Record and review patient medical histories.
- Feel and visually examine gums for sores and signs of disease.
- Administer local anesthetic agents.
What Skills Do You Need to Work as a Dental Hygienist?
These are the skills Dental Hygienists say are the most useful in their careers:
Speaking: Talking to others to convey information effectively.
Active Listening: Giving full attention to what other people are saying, taking time to understand the points being made, asking questions as appropriate, and not interrupting at inappropriate times.
Critical Thinking: Using logic and reasoning to identify the strengths and weaknesses of alternative solutions, conclusions or approaches to problems.
Writing: Communicating effectively in writing as appropriate for the needs of the audience.
Judgment and Decision Making: Considering the relative costs and benefits of potential actions to choose the most appropriate one.
Service Orientation: Actively looking for ways to help people.
Related Job Titles
- Dental Nurse
- Registered Dental Hygienist, Part Time Clinical Faculty
- Implant Coordinator
- Oral Hygienist
- Dental Hygienist
Dental Hygienist Employment Estimates
In the United States, there were 207,900 jobs for Dental Hygienist in 2016. New jobs are being produced at a rate of 19.7% which is above the national average. The Bureau of Labor Statistics predicts 41,000 new jobs for Dental Hygienist by 2026. There will be an estimated 17,500 positions for Dental Hygienist per year.
The states with the most job growth for Dental Hygienist are Arizona, Maryland, and Utah. Watch out if you plan on working in Rhode Island, Mississippi, or Kansas. These states have the worst job growth for this type of profession.
How Much Does a Dental Hygienist Make?
The salary for Dental Hygienists ranges between about $51,930 and $101,820 a year.
Dental Hygienists who work in Alaska, California, or Washington, make the highest salaries.
Below is a list of the median annual salaries for Dental Hygienists in different U.S. states.
|State||Annual Mean Salary|
|District of Columbia||$81,270|
Tools & Technologies Used by Dental Hygienists
Although they’re not necessarily needed for all jobs, the following technologies are used by many Dental Hygienists:
- Microsoft Excel
- Microsoft Word
- Microsoft Office
- Web browser software
- Email software
- Word processing software
- Scheduling software
- Inventory management software
- Henry Schein Dentrix
- Patterson Dental Supply Patterson EagleSoft
- Dental clinical records software
- Dental imaging software
- Dental intra-oral imaging software
- Voice-activated perio charting software
- Dental charting software
- Dental digital radiology software
How to Become a Dental Hygienist
Education needed to be a Dental Hygienist:
How Long Does it Take to Become a Dental Hygienist?
Who Employs Dental Hygienists?
Below are examples of industries where Dental Hygienists work:
Those thinking about becoming a Dental Hygienist might also be interested in the following careers:
Those who work as a Dental Hygienist sometimes switch careers to one of these choices:
More about our data sources and methodologies.
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