Dental hygienists essential career information:
- 2011 median pay: $70,210
- 2011, number of jobs: 190,290
- Employment growth forecast, 2010-2020: 38 percent
- Entry level education requirements: Associate’s degree
Dental hygienists; what they do:
Dental hygienists are those friendly individuals who talk to you – usually about dental hygiene – while you can’t talk because they are busy cleaning your teeth. A dental hygienist career includes removing tartar, stains, and plaque with small hand and powered tools, taking and develop x-rays, and applying any needed sealants and fluorides to the patient’s teeth prior to the dentist seeing the patient. A dental hygienist career also involves reviewing patient care and treatment plans.
Dental hygienists are a resource for patients on overall dental hygiene and oral care, such as proper brushing and flossing techniques and advice on picking out the best toothbrush.
A dental hygienist career includes discussing the link between nutrition and dental hygiene with patients. A dental hygienist’s main goal is preventative care, keeping the patients’ teeth as healthy as possible for as long as possible.
The tasks allotted to a dental hygienists varies by state. Some states allow dental hygienists to do things such as placing and carving temporary fillings and periodontal dressings.
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Dental hygienists job titles:
- Registered Dental Hygienist (RDH)
Dental Hygienists Education, Certification and License Requirements
In most cases, people seeking a dental hygienist career must obtain an Associate of Dental Hygiene degree. A dental Hygiene Certificate, a Bachelor of Dental Hygiene, and a Master of Dental Hygiene also exist, but are less common for dental hygienists.
Private dental offices typically require a dental hygienist to have an associate’s degree or certificate in dental hygiene. Individuals interested in research, teaching, or clinical practice in public or school health programs typically need a bachelor’s or master’s degree.
Dental hygienists programs cover subjects such as:
Dental hygienists must have a license in every state, although the requirements for licensure vary by state.
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Dental Hygienists Job Outlook
Forecast: 38 percent employment growth for dental hygienists from 2010 to 2020, much faster than the average for all occupations.
Health research increasingly linking oral health to general health, as well as advancing technologies for oral care increase the demand for dental hygienists.
Due to the large, aging baby boomer population, more dental hygienists are required to perform routine dental care, freeing up a dentist’s time for procedures and additional patients.
The economy affects job demand for dental hygienists; during a slow economy the decreased number of insured people decreases the demand for dental hygienists.
Dental Hygienists Salary
- 2011 median annual wage: $70,210
- 2011, workers at the 75th percentile annual wage: $84,570
- 2011, workers at the 25% percentile annual wage: $58,130
- Dentist’s offices