Healthcare

healthcare

Healthcare

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What Does a Dental Hygienist Do?

Good dental health is a team effort. Dental hygienists provide preventative oral care under a dentist's supervision. They clean patients' teeth, take X-rays and examine patients' mouths for signs of gingivitis and other diseases. Hygienists also teach patients how to maintain good oral health, including proper brushing and flossing.

State rules dictate what services they are legally allowed to perform. About half of all dental hygienists work part-time.

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Median Salary $
79,000
Jobs Available
4,300+
A dental hygienist cleans a patient’s teeth
Good oral health has been linked to better overall health, and a dental hygienist can explain why. (Credit: Antonio Guillem/Shutterstock)
Duties + Responsibilities
  • Take dental X-rays
  • Clean patients’ teeth by removing stains, calculus and plaque (the hard and soft deposits) from all surfaces of the teeth
  • Apply protective substances to the teeth such as sealants and fluorides
  • Teach patients good oral hygiene strategies
  • Conduct oral cancer screenings
  • Counsel patients about good nutrition and its impact on oral health
  • Make impressions of patients' teeth
  • Set up appointments for the patient
  • Document patient treatment plan
Education + Training

An associate degree is required to become a dental hygienist. It typically takes three years to complete the training, which is available at community colleges, trade schools and universities. Some students get a bachelor’s degree. Programs include classroom, lab and clinical time. 

A license from the state dental board is required, and specific requirements may vary by state. The American Dental Association website features a directory of state dental boards.

You May Be a Good Fit for This Position If You
  • Have good communication skills
  • Have a calm and reassuring manner
  • Are detailed-oriented
  • Have good dexterity
  • Have strong problem-solving skills

Dental Hygienist training in your area

Coordinates

Dental Hygene, A.S.

College of Southern Nevada
Las Vegas (0.0 Miles)

Dental Hygiene, A.A.S.

Lake Land College
Mattoon (0.0 Miles)

Dental Hygiene, A.A.S.

Mott Community College
Flint (0.0 Miles)

Dental Hygiene, A.A.S

Iowa Western Community College
Council Bluffs (0.0 Miles)

Dental Hygiene, A.A.S.

Tarrant County College District
Fort Worth (0.0 Miles)

Dental Hygiene A.A.S

Southern University at Shreveport
Shreveport (0.0 Miles)

Dental Hygiene, A.A.S

Oakland Community College
Farmington Hills (0.0 Miles)

Dental Hygiene, A.A.S

Kirkwood Community College
Cedar Rapids (0.0 Miles)

Dental Assisting, Certificate

Northern Virginia Community College
Annandale (0.0 Miles)

Dental Assisting, A.A.S.

Metropolitan Community College (MO)
Kansas City (0.0 Miles)

Dental Hygiene, A.A.S.

Wake Technical Community College
Raleigh (0.0 Miles)

Dental Hygiene, A.A.S.

Malcolm X College
Chicago (0.0 Miles)
Image
Antonia Lemons, dental hygienist ambassador, Midtown Dental Center
Meet Ambassador Antonia Lemons

Antonio Lemons really enjoys seeing people smile — especially when her work as a dental hygienist helps make that smile sparkle.

The job is so much more than that, of course, and that’s what she likes about it.

“It’s important to make the patient feel safe, comfortable and glad they came to the office,” says Antonia. She’s got more to say about certain misconceptions and why this is such a great job.

Find Dental Hygienist Jobs in Your Area

Coordinates

Dental Hygienist

Heartland Dental
Katy ( 0.0 ) Miles
Posted 2 months 1 week ago

Dental Hygienist

Department of Defense
San Diego ( 0.0 ) Miles
Posted 2 months 1 week ago

Territory Manager of Hygiene Support

Aspen Dental
Oklahoma City ( 0.0 ) Miles
Posted 2 months 1 week ago

Dental Hygienist

Heartland Dental
Port Orange ( 0.0 ) Miles
Posted 2 months 2 weeks ago

Dental Hygienist

Hero Practice Services
Essex ( 0.0 ) Miles
Posted 2 months 2 weeks ago

Registered Dental Hygienist

Pacific Dental Services
Champlin ( 0.0 ) Miles
Posted 2 months 3 weeks ago

Registered Dental Hygienist - Fayetteville Office - Full Time

Coast Dental Services, Inc.
Fayetteville ( 0.0 ) Miles
Posted 2 months 3 weeks ago

Registered Dental Hygienist (RDH)

Western Dental
San Leandro ( 0.0 ) Miles
Posted 2 months 3 weeks ago