Careers in Oral Hygiene and Health


Oral hygiene and health are extremely important. This means that a career centered on these allows you to help others in one of the most important areas of their lives. You will find that dental hygienist careers are one of the fastest-growing careers in 2017. This means that this career is desirable and that there are a number of great job opportunities for a career of this nature. So how would you go about getting a career in oral hygiene and health?



One of the first steps would be to go to college. You will need to take a course to be a certified dental hygienist. You want to make sure that you take the time to research the different colleges and programs out there. You should check out the reputation and make sure that others have had a positive experience with the school before you commit. You also want to make sure that you look into the cost of the different programs to try and save money wherever possible

Talk to the different schools and see what type of classes they offer. Some people find that it is easiest for them to take online classes because of their schedules if this is important to you then you will need to find a place that is able to offer this.


While you are in school to become a dental hygienist you might want to get experience working in a dental office. Even if the job you are able to get is nothing more than being a receptionist it will help you to better see how a dental office runs. You might even find that you are able to work your way up with the company that you start your first job with. This would be a great extra benefit of going ahead and working at the office of the type of job you want to obtain.

You might also want to consider talking to a dental hygienist to find out more about the career, where they attended school, the expected pay rates, and more. Many times you will be able to find someone who has already been in the career for a while that will be willing to talk to you and answer any questions that you may have.


Check State Requirements

Find out if there are any certifications that are required in your state aside from your schooling. If there is you will want to see how much it will cost and what happens if you are not able to pass the certification test. Many times you will find that you can retake the test but often you have to wait a certain amount of time before you are able to do so. This will help you to be better prepared once your degree or courses are finished.

Spend Time Researching

You want to spend time researching all the aspects of a dental hygienist. You need to be sure you will be able to handle the job responsibilities of this rewarding job. You also want to make sure that you understand what you will need to proceed further with your career. One of the best places to start your research is online. You should look to get the information that you need from a source that you can trust because you don’t want to be misled. Look to see if you can find out what type of personalities are best for one of the fastest-growing careers in 2012.

Kids, Adults Or Family Dentistry

You can also take the time to decide what type of practice you would like to work at. Some people prefer to work with children while others don’t like the fact that children are sometimes harder to deal with. If you are one that does not have a preference and would enjoy working with both then you might find that family dentistry is the type of practice you would like to work at. The preference you have may change over time but it is always a good idea to go ahead and think about the situation and what you think might be best for you.

After Courses Are Completed

Once your courses are completed and you have any required certifications you will be able to start looking for a job in oral hygiene and health. You will want to make sure you have a resume typed up and look in all the possible places that an employer would post a job. You will find that word of mouth is also a great way to get information on job openings. Talk to friends and family and see if they are able to point you in the right direction for a dental hygienist job. Don’t give up if you are not able to find something right away. Sometimes finding the right job takes a little time and a lot of effort.


Benefits of Becoming a Dental Hygienist

The dental hygienist is able to help people avoided dental procedures that can be prevented in most cases by properly caring for their teeth. They are able to clean teeth and perform x-rays and other simple procedures. One of the best rewards is knowing that you helped them have better teeth and fewer procedures than if you had not been there to help point them in the right direction. Many people fear the dentist because they worry about any pain that might be a result of the procedures and it is rewarding to know that you were able to help prevent it.

So if you have been thinking about a career in oral hygiene and health you will be able to follow the above tips so that you can finally obtain the job you desire as a dental hygienist. Remember that schooling may take a while but if you put your mind to it there is nothing that will keep you from achieving your goal of working as a hygienist. This is a great career and it is quickly becoming a job that is extremely desirable by many.

Today, oral hygiene education has greater demand because it falls under the high demand careers 2012 category due to the scarcity of skilled dental professionals and the steep increase in the number of dental patients. A dental hygienist is responsible for providing highly skilled services to people of all ages without removing or cutting teeth. They need to work in collaboration with a dentist for the determination of therapeutic treatment needs of each individual patient. However, they need to work independently to deliver their dental services. They need to work as a team for providing the best, safe, and appropriate oral health care.

Duties and Responsibilities of Oral Hygienist

An oral hygienist needs to undertake a number of clinical duties, which are focused on therapeutic, diagnostic, and preventive duties for supporting total health care to control oral diseases. As per the Dental Act procedures prevailing in each state, the duties of a dental hygienist may vary.

As an oral hygienist, you need to perform various oral health assessments, which include saliva testing, oral cancer screening, dental charting, taking a health history, and vital signs, such as blood glucose, pulse, blood pressure, respiration, etc. The other duties are as follows:


* Process, expose, and interpret dental X-rays,
* Administer anesthetic injections for numbing gums and teeth,
* Remove calculus, plaque, and stains from below and above the gum line,
* Make impressions of teeth for mouthguard construction and plaster study models,
* Polish teeth and dental restorations,
* Perform root planning for conducting non-surgical periodontal therapy,
* Remove sutures,
* Remove and place post-surgical dressing,
* Select and size orthodontic bands,
* Prepare teeth for the placement of braces,
* Remove wires,
* Remove fixed orthodontic appliances,
* Apply decay preventive agents like varnishes, fluorides, and sealants to the teeth,
* Teach oral hygiene techniques to people for helping them to maintain healthy gums and teeth,
* Counsel patients on smoking cessation, good nutrition, plaque control, and systemic health, etc.

You should use your clinical skills and knowledge for providing oral hygiene care and your interpersonal skills for motivating and instructing patients regarding the methods to prevent oral diseases and maintaining oral health. You must also need to practice under legislative regulations like the other registered healthcare professionals like physicians, dentists, nurses, psychologists, chiropractors, osteopaths, optometrists, physical therapists, and pharmacists.

In order to work as a dental hygienist, you must have proof of the successful completion of an oral hygiene education degree or diploma as evidenced by the state dental board. Once granted, it must be renewed annually. Some states may demand you to participate in continuing education courses for renewing your registration. The registration aims to protect the public strongly from unqualified people and unsafe practices.

Requirements for Enrolling in Oral Hygiene Education

If you want to select the oral hygiene profession as a career, you must take high school courses in biology, health, mathematics, chemistry, psychology, and speech. Good vision, manual dexterity, and must have very good interpersonal communication skills. You must also have the ability to understand, prepare, and act on written materials such as summaries, reports, and letters.

You can work as an entry-level oral hygienist if you have a certificate or an associate degree in dental hygiene from an accredited educational institution. Commission on Dental Accreditation is the accrediting agency for oral hygiene education. This level of oral hygiene education will qualify you to pursue state licensure, which is indispensable for working in all states.


Certificate in Dental Hygiene

You can complete your certificate program in dental hygiene in 2-3 years. The curriculum offers classroom and clinical training. So, you can acquire practical experience as well before entering the workforce. After the completion of the certification course, you will be able to record patient histories, treat tooth decay, sensitive gums, and teach patients about proper oral care.

You need to acquire knowledge of commonly used dental techniques and dental sciences as a part of your classroom education. The majority of dental hygiene programs cover core courses in subjects, such as:

* Medical terminology,
* Dental hygiene theory and practice,
* Periodontology,
* Oral general pathology,
* Dental pharmacology,
* Local anesthesia, etc.

Associate Degree in Dental Hygiene

Most associate degree programs in oral hygiene provide clinical experience to the students. So you can acquire knowledge for working under the supervision of an oral healthcare provider. In your clinical experience, you can learn to conduct oral X-rays, apply teeth fluorides, seal cavities with lubricant, teach patients better dental care, etc. The duration of an Associate Degree in Dental Hygiene is 2 years and during this, you will get education and training in classroom environments and labs. The classroom portion covers topics, such as:

* Oral biology,
* Nutrition in dentistry,
* Dental materials,
* Community dental health,
* Legal responsibility in dentistry, etc.


Master of Science (MS) in Dental Hygiene

The Master of Science in Dental Hygiene is a 1-2 year course and it will provide you in-depth knowledge in specific areas through coursework, research, or a combination of both.

Doctorate Degree (Ph.D.)

The duration of a doctorate degree course is three years. This is self-directed coursework and research. The doctorate programs are conducted in oral hygiene and related subjects.

BDS Degree (Dentist)

This is a five-year course and it applies credits gained from degree programs or diplomas.

Opportunities for Dental Hygienists

A profession in dental hygiene is highly suitable for people irrespective of gender, age, ethnic background, or race. You can work as clinicians, consultants, authors, editors, marketing and sales managers, consumer advocates, researchers, and educators. Most dental hygienists prefer to work as clinicians with dentists in the private sector. Today, the demand for dental hygienists is very strong in both public and private sectors in rural and regional areas.

Dental Hygienist Salary

Dental Hygienist Hourly Salary in the U.S Dental Hygienists earns an hourly wage of $35.05. Hourly wages typically start from $24.46 to $48.16.Dental Hygienist Yearly Salary in the U.S Dental Hygienists earns a salary of $72,910 yearly. Salaries typically start from $50,870 and go up to $100,170.

As a dental hygienist, you need to initiate a range of interventions for the promotion of oral health and for preventing and controlling oral diseases. These actions consist of the acquisition of knowledge through examination, perception, and consultation. This career offers you a flexible work schedule so that you can balance your work and lifestyle needs successfully. While considering all these factors and the growing demand for skilled professionals, oral hygiene education is considered as the high demand careers in 2018.