What Is a Dental Hygienist?

What Is a Dental Hygienist?

A dental hygienist is a trained and licensed professional who helps people maintain healthy teeth. This type of health care professional is also referred to as an oral hygienist. Hygienists have a wide variety of responsibilities, and their training helps them to ensure that patients receive the best possible care. They are also registered with a regulatory body and dental association. Read on for more information about this important healthcare professional.

Dental hygienists need to be very detail-oriented, as their job requires them to spend a great deal of time on their feet. The occupation also requires a strong sense of interpersonal skills, which are important in this profession. A positive attitude will help patients feel comfortable and relaxed during a visit. The job is not for the faint-hearted, though – dental hygienists are a must for the health care industry.

A dental hygienist can perform various preventative procedures, including applying sealants to protect teeth against bacteria. They work in tandem with a dentist to ensure that patients follow a comprehensive dental plan. The job also involves education of patients on proper oral hygiene and the importance of visiting a dental hygienist on a regular basis. Hygienists use different types of equipment, including X-ray machines, to analyze problems with the teeth.

To become a dental hygienist, applicants must pass a written national board examination and a state clinical exam. These exams grade the student on their clinical skills and knowledge. Some states may also require additional exams, such as local anesthesia delivery and nitrous oxide supervision. Applicants seeking licensure should note that new requirements and fees may be necessary. This job description is not exhaustive, and it is not a guarantee of employment.

A dental hygienist’s role varies from state to state, but the general role of the job is to help patients achieve better oral health. Before dentists can perform any dental procedures, a dental hygienist cleans patients’ teeth. This helps patients maintain healthy teeth, prevent oral diseases, and free up the dentist’s time. Hygienists also educate patients about proper oral hygiene and recommend methods to maintain optimum health.

A dental hygienist’s salary can vary depending on their level of experience and location. Those with more advanced education will be able to get positions outside of the dental office. Hygienists should be patient, dexterous, and positive. And they should have strong interpersonal skills. To become a dental hygienist, you must complete an associate’s degree program from a college or university that is accredited by the American Dental Association.

In addition to the associate’s degree, you may need to complete a bachelor’s degree to become a dental hygienist. An associate’s degree is the minimum level to obtain state licensure. The degree typically takes two years to complete. Clinical externships help students apply their skills and gain valuable clinical experience. Once you’re qualified and ready to practice, you’ll receive a state license.