Jobs for Dental Hygienists

Dental hygienists are an integral part of the dental industry, working closely with dentists to provide preventive and therapeutic oral health care to patients. Dental hygienists are responsible for providing professional oral health care, patient education and treatment, as well as assisting dentists during complex dental procedures. Becoming a dental hygienist is an excellent career choice for those interested in working in the dental field.

Dental hygienists are in high demand, with job openings projected to increase by 11% over the next decade. As the population continues to age, there will be a greater need for preventive and restorative dental care, creating even more job opportunities for dental hygienists.

Dental hygienists typically work in private dental offices, but they may also work in hospitals, nursing homes, public health departments, or educational institutions. Many dental hygienists are self-employed, working as independent contractors in a variety of settings. Dental hygienists may also work for dental supply companies, providing product demonstrations and training.

The duties of a dental hygienist include:

• Evaluating a patient’s oral health
• Cleaning teeth
• Taking and developing x-rays
• Applying fluoride and other cavity-preventing agents
• Educating patients on oral hygiene
• Maintaining patient records
• Assisting dentists during procedures

In order to become a dental hygienist, you must first obtain an associate degree in dental hygiene from a CODA-accredited program. After graduating, you must pass the National Board Dental Hygiene Examination and obtain a license in your state.

The average salary for a dental hygienist is around $71,000, depending on location and experience. In addition, many dental hygienists receive bonuses and other incentives, such as health insurance and retirement benefits.

For those interested in a career in dental hygiene, there are a variety of job opportunities available. With excellent job prospects and competitive salaries, becoming a dental hygienist is an excellent choice. 

Types of jobs for dental hygienists

Your dental hygienist skills are useful in several industries. Here are three options to consider during your job search:

  • Education: As a dental hygiene educator, you may work with students studying to become hygienists or provide continuing education to licensed hygienists. Most hygiene educators specialize in either clinical procedures or classroom instruction. Working as a dental hygienist instructor often requires a bachelor’s or master’s degree.
  • Public health: The public health sector includes government agencies, non-profit organizations, local health departments, and school programs. Many public health agencies provide medical care and instruction to underserved communities.
  • Alternative clinical settings: If you enjoy the clinical aspect of dental hygiene work but want to explore other options and serve a specialized community of patients, consider working in alternative clinical settings. Alternative settings include correctional facilities, nursing homes, free clinics, homeless shelters, and group homes for individuals with disabilities.