What is dental hygienist | schools, job, duties | salary of dental hygienist details

What is a Dental Hygienist?

A dental hygienist is a licensed professional who is registered with the regulatory body of the country he/she is practicing in. Dental hygienists are skilled health workers who may work standalone or alongside a dentist. Their primary role consists of advising patients on dental hygiene and cleaning their teeth.

what is dental hygienist
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What kind of personality is desirable to be a Dental Hygienist?

  • Interest in healthcare

Dental hygienist duties comprises of basic dental care tasks, hence the professional must be inclined towards working in a healthcare sector.

  • Stamina

Work of a dental hygienist involve long standing hours and bending position. Hence he should have good stamina.

  • Interpersonal skills

Dental hygienist are required to interact and advise patients on oral hygiene. They constantly work with patients and hence have a front desk job which requires them to have excellent interpersonal skills.

  • Expertise

Since dental hygienist recommend practices that help in keeping a good oral hygiene, they are required to work upon themselves to develop expertise over the subject.

What is the Job Description of a Dental hygienist?

A dental hygienist usually practices under the direct supervision of a dentist.. Graduation from an accredited dental hygiene school and/or an associate’s degree in dental hygiene, as well as state licensure and passing the National Board Dental Hygiene Examination are general requirements for this position. He is assigned with following responsibilities:

  1. Cleaning of calcareous deposits, accretions, and stains from teeth and beneath margins of gums, using dental instruments.

  2. Feels lymph nodes under patient’s chin to detect swelling or tenderness that could indicate presence of oral cancer.

  3. He also feels and visually examines gums for sores and signs of disease.

  4. Dental hygienist should provide clinical services and health education to improve and maintain oral health of school children. He may also conduct dental health clinics for community groups to augment services of dentist.


What are the qualifications and schools required for being a Dental Hygienist?

  1. Dental hygienist receive their academic qualifications from community colleges, technical colleges, dental schools and universities.The duration of the course is 2 years. After obtaining this degree,the students become eligible to sit for national examinations and then can practice standalone or along with a dentist.

  2. University-based dental hygiene programs may offer baccalaureate and master’s degrees,and they usually take further 2 years. These additional degrees are necessary for a career in teaching and/or research, as well as for clinical practice in school or public health programs.

  3. Dental hygiene program admission requirements vary according to different schools. High school-level courses such as health, biology, psychology, chemistry, mathematics and speech are beneficial in a dental hygiene career. Students who have experience of one year at college are given preference. Some baccalaureate degree programs require that applicants complete two years of college prior to enrollment in the dental hygiene program.

  4. Dental hygiene education programs also offer clinical education expertise in the form of supervised patient care experiences. Additionally, these programs include courses in liberal arts (e.g., English, speech, sociology and psychology); basic sciences (e.g., anatomy, physiology, pharmacology, immunology, chemistry, microbiology and pathology); and clinical sciences (e.g., dental hygiene, radiology and dental materials). After completion of a dental hygiene program, dental hygienists can choose to pursue additional training in such areas as education, business administration, basic sciences, marketing and public health.

what is dental hygienist


The Commission on Dental Accreditation (CODA) is the only agency approved by the USDE to accredit dental hygiene education programs. There are several CODA-accredited dental hygienist programs in the United States.

Examination and Licence for dental hygienist:

  1. Each state provides licence dental hygienists to impart dental hygiene care and patient education. Almost all states require that dental hygienists be graduates of commission-accredited dental hygiene education programs to be eligible for state licensure.

  2. Candidates, for licensure are required to obtain a passing score on the National Board Dental Hygiene Examination (a comprehensive written examination) in addition to passing the state-authorized licensure examination.

  3. The state or regional examination tests candidates’ clinical dental hygiene skills as well as their knowledge of dental hygiene and related subjects.

  4. After receiving receipt of license, dental hygienists may use “R.D.H.” after their names to signify recognition by the state that they are a Registered Dental Hygienist.

What is the Scope, duties and responsibilities of a Dental Hygienist?

Provided under clinical guidance:

  • Obtaining and reassessing medical and dental health histories.

  • Examination of oral tissues and recognition of abnormalities.

  • Assessing and provisionally diagnosing disease of periodontal tissues, and appropriate referral.

  • Obtaining informed consent for dental hygiene care plans.

  • Providing oral health education, information, promotion and counselling.

  • Scaling, debridement and prophylaxis of supra and subgingival tooth surfaces.

  • Applying and dispensing non-prescription preventive agents and fissure sealants.

  • Applying and dispensing topical agents for the treatment of tooth surface sensitivity and tooth discolouration.

  • Administering topical local anaesthetic.

  • Take impressions, recording occlusal relationships and making study models.

  • Taking impressions, constructing and fitting mouthguards and bleaching trays.

  • Taking intra and extra-oral photographs.

  • Performing postoperative procedures such as removal of sutures and placement and removal of periodontal dressings.

  • Recontouring and polishing of restorations.

  • Taking periapical and bitewing radiographs for the purpose of recognising disease of the periodontium3.

  • Taking extra-oral radiographs.

  • Assisting the dentist or dental specialist in implementing orthodontic treatment plans, prepared by the dentist or dental specialist responsible for the patient’s clinical care outcomes, through performing the following orthodontic procedures:

    • Tracing cephalometric radiographs.

    • Supragingival polishing of teeth (as part of oral hygiene, before bonding and after removal of fixed attachments).

    • Providing oral hygiene instruction and advice on the care and maintenance of orthodontic appliances.

    • Making study models, and fabricating retainers, and undertaking other simple laboratory procedures of an orthodontic nature.

Provided under the direct clinical supervision of a dentist or dental specialist:
  • Applying prescription preventive agents.

  • Administering local anaesthetic using dentoalveolar infiltration and inferior dental nerve block techniques.

 You may also check job description of dentist, what is a dentist details.

Dental hygiene practice involves the following aspects –

  • Assisting the dentist or dental specialist in implementing orthodontic treatment plans, prepared by the dentist or dental specialist responsible for the patient’s clinical care outcomes, through performing the following orthodontic procedures:

    • Placing separators.

    • Sizing of metal bands and their cementation including loose bands during treatment.

    • Preparation of teeth for the bonding of fixed attachments and fixed retainers.

    • Indirect bonding of brackets as set up by the dentist or dental specialist.

    • Placing archwires as formed by the dentist or dental specialist when necessary and replacing ligatures /closing self ligating brackets.

    • Remove archwires after removing elastomeric or wire ligatures, or opening self ligating brackets.

    • Removing fixed orthodontic attachments and retainers.

    • Removing adhesives after the removal of fixed attachments using burs in slow speed handpieces where there is minimal potential for the removal of enamel.

    • Trial fitting of removable appliances. This does not include activation.

    • Fitting of passive removable retainers.

    • Bonding preformed fixed retainers.

Dental hygienist duties

What is the Salary of a Dental Hygienist?

  1. Salary of a Registered Dental Hygienist (RDH) is an average salary of $34.21 per hour. Although it depends a lot on other factors such as school you have obtained your qualification from. The median annual Dental Hygienist salary is $70,957, as of January 30, 2018, with a range usually between $60,907$80,767. As with any job, a dental hygienist makes less when starting in the industry.

  2. As with almost any job, education affects salaries, and dental hygienists are no exception. A survey by the American Dental Hygienist Association found that hygienists with special permits or privileges, such as administering anesthesia or holding the designation of Registered Dental Hygienist in Extended Functions, earn the most. Those with only a high school diploma earn the least, so it often pays to continue your education beyond high school. With each degree, a hygienist earns additional income.

  3. Employment opportunities for dental hygienists are quite bright. Even those just starting out will enjoy good prospects. From 2010 to 2020, job growth should be 38 percent — much faster than the 14 percent employment growth expected for all U.S. occupations. Because research continues to make connections between dental disease and overall health, demand for care will grow and dentists will continue to expand their practices. To accommodate their patients, more hygienists are needed.

You may also check salary of dentist details here.

Dental Hygienist schools, college and universities:

Please find below the list of best dental hygienist schools and also Universities. These top dental hygienist schools are ranked and therefore placed according to global school ranking and reviews. These dental hygienist schools have great reputation for training their students according to Industry standards and also offer the best theory – practical training.

dental hygienist school

Please find below the list of Best dental hygienist schools:

  • University of Bridgeport
  • Parkland College
  • Northern Arizona University
  • University of Pittsburgh
  • Creighton University
  • Virginia Commonwealth University
  • University of Wyoming
  • Milwaukee Area Technical College
  • Mesa Community College
  • University of Cincinnati
  • University of New Mexico
  • Old Dominion University
  • University of New Haven
  • Western Kentucky University
  • MCPHS University
  • University of New Orleans
  • Riverside Community College District
  • Hillsborough Community College
  • Foothill College
  • College of Southern Nevada
  • New York University
  • Southern Illinois University Carbondale
  • Texas A&M University
  • Wichita State University

I have this article proves useful and also helpful in selecting your career as dental hygienist. We have covered topics like What is dental hygienist | school, job, duties and also salary of dental hygienist details in this article and therefore we will be posting other left details in coming days.

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