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Career Information

Job Opportunities For A Dental Hygienist 

  • Registered Dental Hygienist: Treatment provider for routine patient care.  Treatment provider for beginning to advanced stages of periodontal disease.
    • Job Tasks:  Traditional and digital radiography. Administers local anesthetic and nitrous oxide.
  • Periodontal Maintenance Specialist: Work in a periodontal specialist practice.
    • Job Tasks:  Traditional and digital radiography. Administers local anesthetic and nitrous oxide.
  • Dental Hygiene Educator: With a Bachelor or Masters Degree; perform DH classroom lecture or oversee clinical instruction with students.
  • Dental Research and Development: Work in development and research of new dental products for hygiene schools and dental practices.
  • Dental Instrument and Supplies: Work for manufactures of Hygiene instruments and supplies.

Traits Needed To Be A Dental Hygienist

  • Aptitudes: Must be able to verbalize in a clear manner, the science of dental hygiene and physically demonstrate the related clinical skills.
  • Interests: Continuing education. Desire to educate others. Be a mentor to those in the field.
  • Temperament: A high level of professionalism is required to exemplify the qualities of a dental hygienist. A hygienist should be patient, impartial, and calm with a continued desire to learn and improve.

Working Conditions

The working conditions are good, hours are flexible.  The environment is a clean and well designed with quality equipment and technology available.

Physical Demands

Physical working demands of a dental hygienist include manual dexterity, stamina and concentration. Educational demands are high. Graduation from a dental hygiene school does not guarantee the chance to practice dental hygiene. After graduation a dental hygienist must pass an 8 hour written National Board Dental Hygiene Examination (NBDHE), a CDCA-WREB Clinical Board Examination (scaling a quadrant of calculus to remove tarter off of a live patient or manikin teeth), and a written Objective Structured Clinical Examination (OSCE). Written and clinical Anesthesia examination (clinical exam is a demonstration of an injection on a live patient). After successfully passing these examinations a candidate is eligible to take the Jurisprudence test, this is the ethics and laws that pertain to each state.  Utah does not require this exam, but other states still may.

Job Outlook

Most projections for and dental hygienist in the profession are that there is a shortage and will continue to be shortages for dental hygienist for several years to come, as long as periodontal disease goes untreated.  It is a job that can be practiced anywhere in the U.S.  Some positions come with benefits and bonus systems.

Careers And Salary

Median Wage: $34.73/per hour