Overview and Key Facts
(Above US Average)
Jobs in 2029
What Do They Do?A dental hygienist could...
Take and develop X-rays of a patient's mouth to help diagnose problems.
Show people how to brush their teeth properly.
Assist the dentist in performing oral surgery.
Teach children what cavities are and why they are bad.
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Good oral hygiene protects not only teeth and gums, but the whole body, reducing the risk of infections, heart disease, clogged arteries, and stroke. Dental hygienists help prevent and correct dental problems by taking X-rays, examining teeth and gums, removing plaque, polishing teeth, injecting local anesthetics, and assisting with dental procedures. They also play a key role in educating patients about how and when to brush and floss.
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Do You Have the Skills and Characteristics of a Dental Hygienist?
- Speaking: ? Talking to others to convey information effectively.
- 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.
- Service Orientation: ? Actively looking for ways to help people.
- Social Perceptiveness: ? Being aware of others' reactions and understanding why they react as they do.
- Writing: ? Communicating effectively in writing as appropriate for the needs of the audience.
- Judgment and Decision Making: ? Considering the relative costs and benefits of potential actions to choose the most appropriate one.
- Monitoring: ? Monitoring/Assessing performance of yourself, other individuals, or organizations to make improvements or take corrective action.
- Coordination: ? Adjusting actions in relation to others' actions.
- Time Management: ? Managing one's own time and the time of others.
Core TasksThink about if you'd like the typical tasks a Dental Hygienist might do:
- Clean calcareous deposits, accretions, and stains from teeth and beneath margins of gums, using dental instruments.
- 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.
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