What They Do:
Dental hygienists mainly deal with preventative care when it comes to oral health. Responsibilities include:
Educate patients on the proper ways to brush and floss
Offer guidance on the best over-the-counter products used for oral health
Remove tartar, stains and plaque from teeth during cleanings
Examine patients for oral diseases such as gingivitis
May do filling in some states
Hygienists work closely with dentists and dental assistants, so good communication skills and the ability to work as part of a team are certainly helpful.
Most dental hygienists have an associate’s degree in dental hygiene.
Increasingly students are pursuing bachelor and master’s degrees to further their career.
Following formal education, it is preferable to receive some practical experience (such as an internship) in a dental office.
Licensure in the state in which you will work is necessary.
What They Make:
According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the 2019 median income was 76,220 per year.
Where They Work:
Outpatient care centers
Ambulatory health care services
According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the occupation will grow 6% by 2029, which is much faster than the average growth rate for most professions.
Bureau of Labor Statistics, U.S. Department of Labor, Occupational Outlook Handbook, Dental Hygienists,
on the Internet at https://www.bls.gov/ooh/healthcare/dental-hygienists.htm (visited December 2020).
Updated December 2020