What to Expect from a Career as a Dental Hygienist

What to Expect from a Career as a Dental Hygienist


A career as a dental hygienist has a lot to offer. A dental hygienist works hand in hand with a dentist to meet the oral needs of patients. Most people often wonder what a career as a dental hygienist entails. What are the roles of a dental hygienist? How much does a dental hygienist earn? Are there opportunities for career growth in a dental hygienist profession? Here is what to expect from a career in dental hygienist:

Duties and Responsibilities

As a dental hygienist, you may perform a wide range of tasks. You may conduct patient screening procedures, including assessment of oral health conditions. Other tasks include taking and developing dental x-rays and removing plaque and calculus from the surface of the teeth. Your duties may also entail counseling patients about oral health. Oral hygienists often teach customers about good nutrition and the effects of nutrition on the teeth.

Places of Work

Dental hygienists work in a wide range of health care settings. The hygienists often work in managed care organizations, private dental offices, public health clinics, long-term care facilities, and hospitals. If you are a dental hygienist with a bachelor’s or a master’s degree, you may have additional career options. For instance, you may teach dental assisting and dental hygiene students in universities and colleges. You may also manage dental practices as well as health care facilities. Your duties may also entail administering community-based and public health programs.

Typical Day for a Dental Hygienist

Most dental hygienists work in clinical practices. A hygienist may handle several patients in an eight-hour day.  In a week, a dental hygienist may work for 3-4 days. A dental hygienist may work in more than one office, depending on preference. Other than working closely with dental assistants and dentists, dental hygienists may work closely with other health professionals. Dental hygienists wear protective clothing, including facemasks, gloves, and safety glasses to avoid contracting infections. Dental hygienists are qualified and always prepared to respond to dental emergencies.


Dental hygienist salaries are very competitive despite the fact that the professionals enjoy flexible working schedules. The salary may range from $50,000 per year depending on qualifications and the level of experience. Dental hygienists may enjoy additional benefits including retirement contributions, vacation, and sick leaves. These benefits may vary depending on the employer.


Dental hygienists must have practicing licenses in the states in which they practice. Normally, the licensing requirements may vary from one state to the other. To get a license, you must graduate from an accredited dental hygiene program. For licensing, you also have to pass examinations, including the national written board examination. You also have to pass a state or a regional clinical board examination. Upon licensing, a dental hygienist gains a Registered Dental Hygienist Credential.

Career Advantages

Dental hygienists enjoy a wide range of career advantages, including personal satisfaction. The experts derive satisfaction from providing valuable healthcare while building lasting relationships with patients. Due to their education and training, dental hygienists enjoy prestige in society. Flexibility is also a career advantage enjoyed by dental hygienists; they can choose to work on a full time or part-time basis.

Apparently, a career in dental hygiene has a wide range of benefits to offer.

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