Dental Hygienists


Overview

Introduction

Dental hygienists perform clinical tasks, serve as oral health educators in private dental offices, work in public health agencies, and promote good oral health by educating adults and children. Their main responsibility is to perform oral prophylaxis, a process of cleaning teeth by using sharp dental instruments, such as scalers and prophy angles. With these instruments, they remove stains and calcium deposits, polish teeth, and massage gums. A growing number of hygienists provide more advanced dental care to vulnerable populations...

Quick Facts


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Median Salary

$74,820

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Employment Prospects

Good

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Minimum Education Level

Associate's Degree


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Experience

Prior experience operating dental equipment and working with pati


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Skills

Interpersonal


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Personality Traits

Conventional

Earnings

The dental hygienist's income is influenced by such factors as education, experience, locale, and type of employer. Most dental hygienists who work in private dental offices are salaried employees, although some are paid a commission for work performed or a combination of salary and commission.

According to the U.S. Department of Labor, full-time hygienists earned a median annual salary ...

Work Environment

Working conditions for dental hygienists are pleasant, with well-lighted, modern, and adequately equipped facilities. Hygienists usually sit while working. State and federal regulations require that hygienists wear masks, protective eyewear, and gloves. Most hygienists do not wear any jewelry. They are required by government infection control procedures to leave their work clothes at the office...

Outlook

The U.S. Department of Labor (DOL) projects that employment of dental hygienists will grow much faster than the average for all careers from 2018 to 2028. The outlook varies based on the type of employer. Here is the rate of growth for different employers:

  • Outpatient care centers: +37.5 percent (much faster than the average for all careers)
  • Offices of dentists: +11 percent...

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