Dental Hygienist Jobs

With an increasing demand for dental hygienists and excellent job prospects, many people are curious about this field of healthcare. This career offers steady employment, a lucrative salary and great benefits, all while working in a pleasant environment.

The Duties and Responsibilities of a Dental Hygienist

Although we've all had our teeth cleaned by a dental hygienist there are other aspects of the job we might not know or think about. It is true that their main job is to clean and remove hard and soft deposits from a patient's teeth, but there are many other duties as well. The regulations regarding a dental hygienist's responsibilities are determined by the state where they work. Since each state has its own regulations, services will vary from state to state.

Most hygienists will be responsible for interviewing the patient initially and taking down their health history. They will assess the patient's oral health conditions and examine their neck and head. Often they will perform oral cancer screenings and keep the dental chart and paperwork up to date and accurate. They may take dental x-rays and develop them, although many practices now have digital x-ray systems. Dental hygienists apply preventative materials to the teeth, such as fluoride treatments and sealants. They work closely with the dentist to teach patients about preventative oral hygiene, like brushing and flossing correctly. Sometimes dentists require an impression of a patient's teeth for study casts and it is usually the duty of the dental hygienist to do this. After a patient has left, it is the hygienist's responsibility to clean and disinfect the exam area, ensuring a safe and hazard free area.

Dental hygienists always work under the supervision of a dentist and are rarely independently employed. People skills are a must in this career field as you will be working closely with the dentist and with patients. Considering that most people do not enjoy going to the dentist, at times you might be working with nervous or upset patients. Dental hygienists are usually paid hourly and about half of all working hygienists only work part time. With the hourly mean average of $32.63, it's not a bad part time job. With an expected growth of 30% by the year 2018, now is an exciting time to think about a career in the dental health field as a dental hygienist.