What Does a Dental Hygienist Do?

If you are like most people and have been to the dentist, you may have wondered what exactly a dental hygienist does.  After all, they are different from a dental assistant or general dentist, so what is their role in the individual patient’s exam?  When considering a career as a dental hygienist, it is important to know what the job entails and what the job outlook is so that you can choose the best career path for your life.

A career as a dental hygienist means that you get to impact patients’ dental health on a daily basis.  A dental hygienist is a licensed healthcare professional who has graduated from an accredited dental hygienist program.  The day to day job of a dental hygienist includes removing tartar, stains and plaque, applying any sealants and fluorides to teeth for protection, taking dental radiographs (x-rays), assessing oral health, reviewing oral and general health history, dental charting and documentation, counseling patients about proper oral hygiene and educating patients on proper hygiene techniques, and more.

There are many advantages to a career in dental hygiene.  Counseling patients in proper hygiene and playing an important role in their health provides a great deal of personal satisfaction.  A career in dental hygiene is one that is very fulfilling because you are a trusted part of a patient’s medical team.  As a dental hygienist you will feel highly valued because you are an integral component of a dental practice.  Additionally, the job is certainly not boring.  Every patient is different and each patient may present different challenges which provides you with the opportunity to use your knowledge and training.  As a dental hygienist, you can work a variety of schedules and hours that suit your lifestyle so you can lead a very full and exciting life.  And, perhaps best of all, a career as a dental hygienist is a very secure career.  People will always need to visit their dentist for oral health which means that a dental hygienist will always be needed.  But, it is not just that.  The most recent research from the Bureau of Labor Statistics reports that dental hygienist jobs are expected to grow by 19% between 2014-2024, which is much faster than average for all occupations.    There is no doubt about it; dental hygienists are in demand which is just what you want for your career of choice.  A career as a dental hygienist is one that is certain to be exciting, challenging, and fulfilling, accompanied by the peace of mind that you have great job security.



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