Dental Hygienist Career Video for Dental Students

Dental Hygienist Career Video for Dental Students Transcript

Dental hygiene may not be a flashy career but it is a job where you can really make a difference. A dental hygienist can teach patients how to improve their oral health and can even help them avoid trips to the dentist. The hygienist is a vital professional working in today's modern dental office.


Dental hygienists are licensed dental auxiliaries who specialize in preventive dental care. A dental hygienist will examine patients' teeth and gums to check for decay and disease, clean the teeth, apply fluoride, take x-rays and help to educate patients on oral hygiene. Most dental hygienists hold an associate's degree in dental hygiene. A bachelor's or master's degree may lead to opportunities in administration, teaching or research.

Job Skills and Duties

Dental hygienists need to enjoy working with people and must have good manual dexterity.

Patient education is also a big part of a hygienists daily job, showing patients how to properly brush and floss as well as advising on nutrition and oral health.

Individual state dental regulations determine which duties hygienists may perform. In general, dental hygienists are qualified to use hand and rotary instruments and ultrasonics to scale the teeth (remove soft and hard deposits), take x-rays, apply sealants, apply fluoride and perform root planing. In some states, hygienists can also administer anesthetics, place temporary fillings and remove sutures. The fairly new designation, Advanced Dental Hygiene Practitioner, allows the specially qualified hygienist to provide some preventative, diagnostic and restorative services directly to the public, such as in schools, nursing homes and shelters.

Training Required

The majority of dental hygiene degree programs begin at the associate degree level, though there are a few certificate programs available. Students may also pursue a bachelor's or master's degree. Higher levels of training may qualify students as an Advanced Dental Hygiene Practitioner. After earning an associate degree, a dental hygienist must pass written and clinical exams to gain a license from the state in which he or she works.

Well Known Jobs Within this Field of Expertise

Almost all dental hygienists work in dental offices. A small number work for employment services, for school systems, with public health agencies or other government agencies.


If dental hygiene sounds like a career you would enjoy, it should be easy to find local community college or university degree programs in this popular field. You can make a real difference in the lives of your patients, by helping them address oral health problems before they lead to unpleasant dental procedures.


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