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Dental Hygienist

Overview and Key Facts

Dental hygenist and patient
Education
Education
Associate's degree
Median Pay
Median Pay
$77,810
Job Growth
Job Growth
8.90%
(Above US Average)
Jobs in 2031
Jobs in 2031
233,100

What Do They Do?

A dental hygienist could...

Overview Listen to this section

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.
In this video, you will meet public health dental hygienists Cathy Marshall and Paula Morrison. They visit schools to provide dental services to students who might otherwise never have any dental care. Learn about a dental hygienist that doesn't work in a dental office.

Do You Have the Skills and Characteristics of a Dental Hygienist?


  1. Speaking: ?
  2. Active Listening: ?
  3. Critical Thinking: ?
  4. Service Orientation: ?
  5. Social Perceptiveness: ?

Core Tasks

Think 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.

Salary & Job Openings

Steps to Get There: Becoming a Dental Hygienist

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On the Job

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