The dental hygiene practice made its debut in North America in 1913 through Dr. AC. Fones, a Connecticut doctor who opened a dental hygiene school in his garage. The performance of the first class of 27 women exceeded expectations, leading to a 75% reduction in cavity rates among participating children.
In Canada, Ontario was the first province to legally recognize the practice through the 1947 amendment of the Dentistry Act. Today, dental hygienists are seen as an integral part of the medical profession all over the world. The 10,000 practicing dental hygienists in Ontario alone are testament to this. Below are a few reasons why you should consider a career as a dental hygienist.
1.Service to humanity
As a dental hygienist, you will be serving humanity in reducing oral health problems which are associated with pain, low self-esteem issues, poorly controlled diabetes, cardiovascular disease resulting from oral inflammation due to bacteria (gingivitis), and preterm birth (18% of all preterm births according to the National Institute of Dental and Craniofacial Research). Poor oral health is also associated with increased risk pancreatic cancer, respiratory infections like pneumonia and chronic obstructive pulmonary disease when you inhale bacteria in the mouth, and difficulty conceiving a baby.
You will not only be cleaning teeth, but you will also be assessing the oral condition of your patients, planning and implementing treatment, assisting the rest of the dental team with some medical tasks, and running sensitization programs on good oral hygiene.
According to a Canadian Dental Hygiene Association 2015 survey, the unemployment rate for dental hygienists stood at 2.1%, which was much lower than the national average of 6.5 percent (2017 figures). This shows that there is high demand for dental hygienists and the market is yet to be saturated. This can be explained by the fact that Canada is an aging society and the older generation is in need of oral health treatment and prevention and the aggressive promotion of the benefits of preventive dental services by the dental industry.
You will make good money as a dental hygienist. Most dental hygienists are paid by the hour and they make an average of $40 per hour.
If service to humanity does not give you job satisfaction, there are other ways to get job satisfaction as a dental hygienist. You will be interacting with a lot of different people each day, meaning there is no chance of boredom. You will build relationships with patients, dentists and other dental professionals, and other industry players. You will not be stuck in an office doing repetitive work.
Compared to dentists, dental hygienists spend very little time in dental schools in Canada. This means it will take you a very short time to get your first salary, and you will have paid much lower tuition fees. The requirements to join a dental hygienist school is also lower than those for other cadres that pay the same average salary.