Dental Hygienist Career

hygienist-500If you’re considering a career in the medical field that offers job security, flexible hours, and plenty of opportunity for advancement, dental hygiene may be the ideal occupation for you.

As a dental hygienist, you will work alongside dentists and dental assistants helping patients keep a healthy smile.

Dental hygienists work flexible schedules in dental offices, cleaning teeth and inspecting the neck, head, and oral area of the patient for indicators of oral disease. They may take dental x-rays, apply fluoride and sealant, and perform root planing. Hygienists use tooth models to educated patients regarding proper oral hygiene. They review and record the medical history of a patient and chart disease and decay for a diagnosis and recommended treatment from a dentist.

Dental Hygienist Snapshot

Gain further details on a career as a dental hygienist (statistics from the Bureau of Labor Statistics and Onet Online):


is the average earnings for dental hygienists per year.


increase in employment between 2014 and 2024.


have an Associate’s degree in dental hygiene.

Dental Hygienist Education

In most states, dental hygiene candidates must complete a three-year accredited training program, as well as pass a state exam for licensing. Dental hygiene schools typically includes courses in anatomy, physiology, radiology, chemistry, clinical dental procedures, as well as social and behavioral science. In addition to classroom work, you will receive hands-on training in a clinical setting.

Dental Hygienist Job Outlook

The dental hygiene field is expected to grow much faster than other industries for the next ten years, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics; while competition for employment may be high in some areas, job prospects are favorable overall. Because many dental hygiene positions are part-time, hygienists often hold jobs in more than one dental office. 

Dental Hygienist Salaries

The median annual salary for experienced dental hygienists was approximately $72,330 in May 2015. The lowest 10 percent earned less than $50,140, and the highest 10 percent earned more than $98,440.  Many dental hygienists only work part-time.

Dental Hygienist Job Duties

Dental hygienists examine the teeth and gums of their patients, noting any abnormalities or signs of disease. They remove deposits and stains from the teeth, as well as perform other preventive health procedures, and they teach patients to practice good oral hygiene. In addition, they may assist dentists during oral surgery and other procedures, including administering anesthesia and preparing fillings.

Dental Hygienist Career

Becoming a dental hygienist requires special abilities and skills which are outlined below:

Dental Hygienist Skill Set:Required Abilities:Tools Used by Dental Hygienists:Typical Work Activities:
•Active Listening
•Critical Thinking
•Reading Comprehension
•Social Perceptiveness
•Service Orientation

•Oral Comprehension
•Oral Expression
•Problem Sensitivity
•Finger Dexterity
•Near Vision
•Arm-Hand Steadiness
•Manual Dexterity
•Dental Lasers
•Dental Probes
•Dental Scalers or Accessories
•Dental X-Ray Units
•Teeth Cleaning Devices or Accessories

•Documenting/Recording Information
•Performing for or Working Directly with the Public
•Assisting and Caring for Others

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