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Dental Hygienist


1. 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.

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

3. Variety
Dental hygienists use a variety of interpersonal and clinical skills to meet the oral health needs of many different patients each day. Dental 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.

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

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

6. 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 next century. 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.

Practice patterns also influence employment opportunities for dental hygienists. With the current trend toward group practice and practice styles that stress effective and productive use of office personnel, job opportunities will continue to increase.

There are many employment opportunities in the field of dental hygiene, since many dentists employ one or more dental hygienists. Dental hygienists are in demand in general dental practices, as well as in specialty practices such as periodontics or pediatric dentistry. Dental hygienists are responsible for some important patient care services provided in a dental office, including removing calculus, stains and plaque from teeth, applying fluoride and pit and fissure sealants, taking and developing dental radiographs (X-rays), providing oral hygiene instructions (e.g. brushing, flossing and nutritional counseling). Dental hygienists may also be employed to provide dental hygiene services for patients in hospitals, nursing homes and public health clinics. Depending upon the level of education and experience achieved, dental hygienists can also apply their skills and knowledge to other career activities such as teaching dental hygiene students in dental schools and dental hygiene education programs. Research, office management and business administration are other career options. Additionally, employment opportunities may be available with companies that market dental-related materials and equipment.