What Do Dental Hygienist Do?
Job Description: 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.
What Do Dental Hygienists Do On a Daily Basis?
- Maintain dental equipment and sharpen and sterilize dental instruments.
- 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.
- Conduct dental health clinics for community groups to augment services of dentist.
- Make impressions for study casts.
- Examine gums, using probes, to locate periodontal recessed gums and signs of gum disease.
What Every Dental Hygienist Should Know
When polled, Dental Hygienists say the following skills are most frequently used in their jobs:
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.
Types of Dental Hygienist
- Dental Hygienist, Mobile Coordinator
- Implant Coordinator
- Registered Dental Hygienist, Part Time Clinical Faculty
- Registered Dental Hygienist (RDH)
- Education Coordinator
Job Demand for Dental Hygienists
There were about 207,900 jobs for Dental Hygienist in 2016 (in the United States). 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.
What is the Average Salary of a Dental Hygienist
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
Below is a list of the types of tools and technologies that Dental Hygienists may use on a daily basis:
- 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
Becoming a Dental Hygienist
Individuals working as a Dental Hygienist have obtained the following education levels:
How many years of work experience do I need?
Who Employs Dental Hygienists?
The table below shows the approximate number of Dental Hygienists employed by various industries.
Those thinking about becoming a Dental Hygienist might also be interested in the following careers:
Career changers with experience as a Dental Hygienist sometimes find work in one of the following fields:
More about our data sources and methodologies.
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