How to Become a Dental Hygienist: All You Need to Know

Dental hygienists are skilled health-care workers who typically work in dentists' offices or clinics. They must be trained in techniques, skills and concepts of dental care and need to gain state licensure. Their job duties center around cleaning patients' teeth and giving instruction in proper dental hygiene. This may be a good career for those who enjoy working directly with people and have an interest in health-care jobs.

7 Steps to becoming dental hygienist

It's not easy to be a dental hygienist and a lot of preparatory work needs to be done before starting a formal career. We will make a detailed introduction on how to become a dental hygienist through the following aspects and hopefully these steps will help those who want to be a dental hygienist.

Step 1: understand dental hygienist description and responsibilities

A career as a dental hygienist offers a wide range of challenges. In the dental office, the dentist and the dental hygienist work together to meet the oral health needs of patients. Since each state has its own specific regulations regarding their responsibilities, the range of services performed by hygienists varies from state to state. Some of the services provided by dental hygienists may include:

  • Ensure patients feel as comfortable as possible before their examination
  • Sterilize dental instruments properly
  • Conduct initial mouth screenings and check oral health history
  • Identify conditions like gingivitis, caries or periodontitis
  • Clean and help protect patients'teeth (e.g. remove plaque or apply fluoride)
  • Educate patients of all ages on proper teeth care (by demonstrating, for example, good brushing techniques)
  • Give instructions to patients after operations or other dental procedures
  • Take X-rays or dental impressions
  • Assist dentists with selecting appropriate treatments for various diseases (including oral cancer)

After knowing the responsibilities of dentists, I will tell you what are the requirements of this profession:

  • Proven experience as Dental Hygienist or similar role
  • In-depth knowledge of health and safety regulations in this profession (e.g. HIPAA)
  • Experience in preparing and maintaining dental equipment
  • Outstanding communication skills
  • A patient and friendly personality
  • Attention to detail
  • Stamina to meet the physical demands of the job
  • Diploma in Dental Hygiene
  • Valid license to practice

Step 2: Think before you do: whether is it worth to be a dental hygienist

Career impact is double-sided for anyone, each career will bring good and bad impact to people. So before you decide to become a dental hygienist, you should know exactly the advantages and disadvantages of your career. Dental hygiene offers the following challenges and rewards:

Personal satisfaction: One of the most enjoyable aspects of a career in dental hygiene is working with people. Personal fulfillment comes from providing a valuable health care service while establishing trusting relationships with patients.

Prestige: As a result of their education and clinical training in a highly skilled discipline, dental hygienists are respected as valued members of the oral health care team.

Variety: Dental hygienists use a variety of interpersonal and clinical skills to meet the oral health needs of many different patients each day. Hygienists have opportunities to help special population groups such as children, the elderly and the disabled. They may also provide oral health instruction in primary and secondary schools and other settings.

Creativity: Because dental hygienists interact with such diverse population groups, they must be creative in their approach to patient management and oral health education.

Flexibility: The flexibility offered by full- and part-time employment options and availability of evening and weekend hours enable dental hygienists to balance their career and lifestyle needs. Hygienists also have opportunities to work in a wide variety of settings including private dental practices, educational and community institutions, research teams and dental corporations.

Security: The services that dental hygienists provide are needed and valued by a large percentage of the population. There is currently a great demand for dental hygienists. Employment opportunities will be excellent well into the future. Due to the success of preventive dentistry in reducing the incidence of oral disease, the expanding older population will retain their teeth longer, and will be even more aware of the importance of regular dental care. With the emphasis on preventive care, dentists will need to employ more dental hygienists than ever before to meet the increased demand for dental services.

Step 3: Research Best colleges and universities for dental hygienist

1. University of Hong Kong

2. University of Michigan

3. Tokyo Medical and Dental University

4. King's college, University of London

5. Harvard University

6. University College London

7. Karolinska Institute

8. Amsterdam dental academic center

9. Catholic University of Leuven

10. University of Gothenburg

Step 4: Go through College

University education is very important for people who want to join any, because before university, you only study basic subjects, and then you can really contact the professional knowledge of what you want to study in University. For those who want to be a dental hygienist, it is important to enter the university to learn professional knowledge of Stomatology. Professional colleges offer students comprehensive courses and will award students bachelor's degrees or master's degrees. In university study, you can not only learn knowledge, but also carry out systematic experiment operation with the help of teachers to ensure that you fully master the knowledge taught by teachers. When you study in University, you are preparing for your future career. It can help you enter your career smoothly after graduation.

Step 5: Internship Opportunity

While studying in University, as a student, you can also practice in hospital. It can help you combine your knowledge with real work, promote your study and accumulate experience for you in the future. The practice and it also can let you fully put into practice without work pressure, and learn a lot of knowledge that may not be involved in university learning, which is a thing of the best of both worlds. You can search relevant part-time information through the employment service center of the school and the school can help you find a hospital where you can practice successfully. Actually, you can solve this problem in many ways.

Step 6: Prepare relevant skills for dental hygienist

1. Time management skills: Dental hygienists must be able to manage their time appropriately and work efficiently. Their schedules are very tight and they have a lot to do for each patient in a short period of time. Planning ahead, being organized and being able to prioritize tasks are essential skills for a dental hygienist.

2. Physical endurance: Dental hygiene is a physically demanding profession that requires the provider to be able to repeat motions of bending/twisting when working with patients as well as fine and gross motor skills to grasp, handle, control instruments and feel for objects. Vision and hearing are essential as a dental hygienist must be able to see details of objects (colors and shades) and hear various sounds and recognize the difference between sounds.

3. Attention to Detail: Without the ability to pay attention to detail, it will be impossible to perform several aspects of your job including noticing stains and other treatable issues during cleanings and, while examining patients' teeth, detecting potential health problems requiring the dentist's attention.

4. Interpersonal Skills: When dealing with patients, you must be able to relate to them, recognize when they are uncomfortable or anxious, and reassure them.

Step7: find relevant dental hygienist jobs, and apply it

But when you want to officially start your career, there's a problem. Where can you find a dental hygienist job? Now here, we provide you with a website where you can research for the job you want, you can click on it:

Important Tools for a professional dental hygienist

Sufficient knowledge and ability are the prerequisite to become a dental hygienist, and also the key to be able to play a helping role in the work of a dental hygienist.

Develop your career path

Dental hygiene program students and graduates often think of clinical practice in a dental office or clinic as a singular career path. For those with a passion for dental hygiene who do not wish to practice clinically, there are many career paths outside of the operatory available in education, research, administration, public health and corporate business. Below is a small sample of available career paths and interviews with dental hygienists who took their careers outside the clinic. If you want to be a dental hygienist, you can have some job options, such as Oral hygienists, Registered dental hygienists and so on.

What does a Dental Hygienist do?

People's Opinions on Dental Hygienist responsibilities

Dental hygienists are dental professionals trained in the proper cleaning and care of teeth.

10/23/2020: Minneapolis, MN

Dental hygienists receive their education through academic programs at community colleges, technical colleges, dental schools or universities.

10/6/2020: Peoria, AZ

Now a teeth cleaning is performed by a trained dental hygienist, while dentists and their assistants perform a wide variety of procedures on each patient in their chair, from fillings and crowns to dental implants and extractions.

9/15/2020: Hopkinsville, KY

Dental hygienists and dental therapists are specially trained to work with the dentist to give care to patients and can help with your treatment plan.

8/27/2020: Layton, UT

Being in a service profession, dental hygienists must be very sensitive to patient needs as many patients are in pain due to dental issues.

8/4/2020: Rehoboth Beach, DE
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What skills do you need to be a Dental Hygienist?

People's Opinions on Dental Hygienist skills

Dental hygienists acquire most of their special skills through accredited dental hygiene programs.

10/20/2020: Hastings, NE

Dental hygiene programs are designed to facilitate the development of students, through both formal education and on-site clinical and community-based experiences, in order to prepare them to earn state licensure and become competent, entry-level dental hygienists.

10/7/2020: Westbrook, ME

Dental hygienists need to possess the right blend of scientific knowledge, patient care skills and hands-on clinical proficiency, so if you enjoy working with the general public and you have a strong academic background in biology and anatomy, then you could be a perfect candidate.

9/15/2020: Champaign, IL

Some workplaces, for example, require either more than five years of experience as a Dental Assistant or three years of experience as a Dental Hygienist in order to hire someone for the position.

8/28/2020: Somerset, NJ

Dental hygienists are required to wear safety goggles, surgery masks, and gloves to protect themselves and patients from exposure to infectious diseases.

8/15/2020: Coventry, RI
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