Dental Hygienist Job Description
A dental hygienist is a medical professional who is trained and licensed to provide dental care under the supervision of a dentist. Dental hygienists perform tasks such as cleaning and polishing of teeth, taking and developing x-rays of teeth, gums and the jaws, and educating patients about the care of their teeth and gums.
A dental hygienist should be polite, friendly, helpful and inspiring, and good at communicating to explain complex information to others in the simplest of ways. They should know all about keeping the teeth and gums clean and healthy to educate people about preventing tooth and gum diseases, and maintaining good oral and general health.
Pursue a career as a dental hygienist if you have aptitude for science and interest in health, especially in oral health.
What does a Dental Hygienist do?
Dental hygienists may do some or all of the following:
- collaborate with dentists, nurses, and other oral care employees
- review patient's oral health history
- examine the teeth and gums for signs of disease and tooth decay
- clean and polish teeth using dental tools such as tooth scraper, mirrors, and special toothbrush
- remove hard and soft deposits of stains, tartar and plaque from teeth
- take and develop x-rays of teeth, gums, the jaw and other parts of the mouth
- educate patients on how to maintain good oral hygiene
- refer patients to dentists or dental specialists
Where does a Dental Hygienist work?
Dental hygienists usually work normal office hours, but may sometimes work evening and weekends. They work in dental offices, hospitals, and clinics. They are required to put on protective clothing and gloves when working.
What is Required to Become a Dental Hygienist ?
To become dental hygienist, you need to have an associate’s or bachelor’s degree in dental hygiene. Dental hygienists are required to be licensed to practice.
Just to give you an idea, some of the classes that you’ll be taking in college may include:
- Dental Pharmacology
- Survey of dental hygiene
- Oral anatomy
- Clinical dental hygiene
A dental hygienist may specialize to become any of the following:
- Prosthodontic hygienist - a dental hygienist who does prosthodontics works
- Orthodontic hygienist - a dental hygienist who does orthodontics works
- Periodontal hygienist - a dental hygienist who does periodontal works
Knowledge, Skills and Attributes
Dental hygienists need to have:
- manual dexterity
- physical stamina
- scientific aptitude
- confidence and assertiveness
- accuracy and precision
- honesty and integrity
- good memory
- good eyesight and near vision
- good attention to detail
- good hand-eye coordination
- good listening and communication skills
- good judgment and decision making skills
- analytical and problem-solving skills
- observational skills
- time management and organizational skills
- the ability to work well under pressure
- the ability to work in close proximity to patients
- the ability to maintain focus during delicate procedures
- the ability to inspire confidence in others in critical situations
- knowledge of the structure and function of the teeth, jaw, and mouth
- knowledge of dental diseases and treatments
- knowledge of dental health care
Should I be a Dental Hygienist ?
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