Also called: Dental Hygienist; Dental Hygienist, Mobile Coordinator; Hygienist; Registered Dental Hygienist (RDH)
Produced by CareerOneStop
Video transcript: skip transcript
Dental hygienists provide dental care that promotes good oral health and helps prevent or repair problems with patients’ teeth. A typical day involves examining patients’ teeth and gums for cavities and disease, cleaning and polishing teeth, and teaching patients proper brushing and flossing techniques. Hygienists wear gloves, safety glasses and surgical masks, and follow strict safety procedures at all times. Most take x-rays of patients’ teeth. To be successful in this profession, you must be detail-oriented, and have the ability to work well with your hands. You can expect daily interaction with many different people from all walks of life. While almost all dental hygienists work in dentists offices, about half work part-time. Since dentists often hire hygienists for a few days per week, some hygienists work for more than one dentist to reach full-time hours in the field. An associate’s degree in dental hygiene is required for this profession, and usually takes three years to complete. All states also require dental hygienists to be licensed. In this career, you’ve got your patient’s back… or rather, their teeth!
What they do:Administer oral hygiene care to patients. Assess patient oral hygiene problems or needs and maintain health records. Advise patients on oral health maintenance and disease prevention. May provide advanced care such as providing fluoride treatment or administering topical anesthesia.
On the job, you would:
- Clean calcareous deposits, accretions, and stains from teeth and beneath margins of gums, using dental instruments.
- Record and review patient medical histories.
- Examine gums, using probes, to locate periodontal recessed gums and signs of gum disease.
- medicine and dentistry
- customer service
- sales and marketing
Arts and Humanities
- English language
Math and Science
- talking to others
- listening to others, not interrupting, and asking good questions
- looking for ways to help people
- understanding people's reactions
- communicate by speaking
- listen and understand what people say
Hand and Finger Use
- put together small parts with your fingers
- keep your arm or hand steady
- pay attention to something without being distracted
- do two or more things at the same time
Ideas and Logic
- notice when problems happen
People interested in this work like activities that include helping people, teaching, and talking.
They do well at jobs that need:
- Attention to Detail
- Concern for Others
- Self Control
You might use software like this on the job:
Electronic mail software
- Email software