Dental Hygienist Job Description
Dental hygienist is skilled health care professionals who work with the dentists. They assist dentists in their work. A dental hygienist is primarily concerned with preventive care. They are trained in techniques and care related to dental. Dental hygienists are licenced people whose work is normally centred on cleaning of teeth that include removal of tartar, stains and plaque and giving instruction for proper dental hygiene care such as showing proper ways to brush and floss teeth as well as provides guidance over how to use the products.
Usually, responsibilities of dental hygienist include reviewing a patient’s oral health history, removing plaque and polishing a patient’s teeth during a routine check-up, screening patients, hygiene careetc. They also take pictures of the teeth using X-ray machines as well as develop the film for the dentist’s analysis.
To work as a dental hygienist, they must have to meet certain education and training requirements. They must get a bachelor’s degree a certificate from an accredited dental hygienist training program. There are about 300 certificates programs accredited by the Commission on Dental Accreditation (CODA) which are available through universities, colleges and community colleges across the United States. Even some part time and distance learning programs are also offered.
On average, a student of dental hygienist must complete an average of 2,794 course hours in order to get an entry level degree in dental hygiene. The courses include general education and dental science courses such as pharmacology, oral pathology, psychology, anatomy and patient management. A bachelor’s degree program covers more patient care courses than the associated degree programs. You may also select a course with an elective or specialization.
To get admission into dental hygiene training program, requirement varies for different school, but you general requirements include a high school diploma or equivalent with chemistry, English and math courses completed. With your application, you might also have to submit your college admission test scores and an essay.
On completion of dental hygiene training at an accredited school, students need to obtain a state license. To get the license from most state licensing boards, it requires dental hygienists to meet certain work experience and needs to pass an examination which is administered by the American Dental Association’s (ADA) Joint Commission on National Dental Examinations.
During internship requirements or training, dental hygienists need to work under the supervision of a licensed dental professional. To get the internship, dental hygienist can work at dental offices, community or public health clinics. In most of the states, dental hygienists also need to pass clinical and dental law exams.
Pros and Cons of becoming a Dental Hygienist
Dental hygienist can earn more than many other full time professionals. To be a qualified dental hygienist, only short training period of few months is sufficient. Being dental hygienists, you get to interact with many patients, which is a bonus if you enjoy meeting and helping others.Dental hygienists can have flexible time schedule. They can work full-time or part-time. There is a good job opportunities available at many of the places.
In comparison to other professional in the dental field, they earn less. The work of a dental hygienist is much repetitive and you might find the work having lack of variety to be monotonous. Sometimes you might have to do unpleasant work with the patients having severe dental issue in addition to facing bread breath and cleaning body fluids.
Salary and Job Prospects
There is a high demand for the job of dental hygienists.Job opportunities vary with responsibilities can vary somewhatby state. Some of the dental hygienist prefersto use their skills in research-focused occupations, whereas some go into clinical practice in a school or public health program. It is estimated that the job of dental hygienists will rise by 33.3 % by the year 2022 which is more than the median growth.
Dental hygienists do earn good salary. The median income of a dental hygienist is $70,210. The top 10% makes up to $96,280, whereas the low 10% earns $46,540.
If you possess qualities like good work ethic, positive attitude, problem-solving skills and strong communication skills, you stand better chances to secure a good position. You can earn bachelor’s or master’s degree to get a further career advancement. And remember that, practical experience always teach you more and makes you more skilled than formal education.
As a dental hygienist, you can enjoy a very rewarding career. There are benefits of better career prospects you can enjoy flexible work schedule. With good earning, you can enjoy comforts of life. So, if you like health care field, you can think of a career as a dental hygienist.