Dental Hygienists

Clean teeth and examine oral areas, head, and neck for signs of oral disease. May educate patients on oral hygiene, take and develop x rays, or apply fluoride or sealants.

Median Annual Wage: $71,520

Education: Associate's degree (79%); Bachelor's degree (21%); Post-baccalaureate certificate (1%)

Projected Growth: Much faster than average (22% or higher)

Related Job Titles: Education Coordinator; Dental Hygienist; Registered Dental Hygienist (RDH); Hygienist; Dental Hygienist, Mobile Coordinator; Implant Coordinator; Pediatric Dental Hygienist; Registered Dental Hygienist, Part Time Clinical Faculty

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Source: O*NET OnLine information for Dental Hygienists.

More Healthcare Practitioners and Technical Careers

  • Record and review patient medical histories.
  • Examine gums, using probes, to locate periodontal recessed gums and signs of gum disease.
  • Feel and visually examine gums for sores and signs of disease.
  • Expose and develop x-ray film.
  • Chart conditions of decay and disease for diagnosis and treatment by dentist.
  • Maintain dental equipment and sharpen and sterilize dental instruments.
  • Feel lymph nodes under patient's chin to detect swelling or tenderness that could indicate presence of oral cancer.
  • Provide clinical services or health education to improve and maintain the oral health of patients or the general public.
  • Apply fluorides or other cavity preventing agents to arrest dental decay.
  • Maintain patient recall system.
  • Administer local anesthetic agents.
  • Remove excess cement from coronal surfaces of teeth.

Source: O*NET OnLine information for Dental Hygienists.

  • Active Listening - Giving full attention to what other people are saying, taking time to understand the points being made, asking questions as appropriate, and not interrupting at inappropriate times.
  • Critical Thinking - Using logic and reasoning to identify the strengths and weaknesses of alternative solutions, conclusions or approaches to problems.
  • Monitoring - Monitoring/Assessing performance of yourself, other individuals, or organizations to make improvements or take corrective action.
  • Writing - Communicating effectively in writing as appropriate for the needs of the audience.
  • Social Perceptiveness - Being aware of others' reactions and understanding why they react as they do.
  • Judgment and Decision Making - Considering the relative costs and benefits of potential actions to choose the most appropriate one.
  • Service Orientation - Actively looking for ways to help people.
  • Instructing - Teaching others how to do something.
  • Persuasion - Persuading others to change their minds or behavior.

Source: O*NET OnLine information for Dental Hygienists.

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