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Dental Hygienist Career Profile

Dental Hygienists are licensed dental professionals that practice both independently and/or under the supervision of a dentist to meet the oral health needs of the public. Their scope of practice varies from state to state, but generally they remove plaque and tartar from all surfaces of the patients' teeth, record and review patients' health histories, process and develop photos and X-rays, make dental impressions, apply fluorides and sealants, and most importantly, instruct patients in proper oral hygiene and nutrition. They also examine patients for signs of oral diseases such as gingivitis and provide other preventative dental care. They provide patients with educational information on ways to improve and maintain good oral health. Because oral health is so critical to general health, and because the dental hygienist is often a patient’s most frequent dental counselor, dental hygienists are among the most important health professionals in a patient’s life.

If you're looking for a dental hygienist program that prepares students for an exciting, fast-paced work setting in a short period of time, Concorde can help you put your passion to work. How long is dental hygienist school? At Concorde, you can achieve your new career in dental hygiene in as few as 21 months, in a setting that offers practical skills and knowledge that can transfer directly to the workplace.

The ideal dental hygienist is a strong listener, teacher, and provider of high caliber customer service. Attention to detail, manual dexterity, and team play skills are also important.

Dental hygienists are employed in a variety of settings including private practice, schools, nursing homes, prisons, public health settings, and residential nursing homes. Some are employed as dental product representatives/experts. In 2014, more than half of all dental hygienists worked part-time.

Dental Hygienists work both full- and part-time and most often are paid on an hourly basis; many are even offered incentives based on daily production. Full-time dental hygienists are typically eligible for overtime; health, vacation and pension benefits; and, frequently, continuing education reimbursement.

How does it feel to be a dental hygienist?

As a highly respected member of the dental team, your most important role will be educating patients in maintaining their own oral health. You are the teacher, the motivator and the salesman that will help them establish and maintain proper oral care. Certainly, you will take satisfaction from the daily patient care you deliver, such as when you see a patient who has suffered from chronic oral disease return with healthy teeth and gums because of your clinical skill, mentoring and guidance. But the real satisfaction will come from the personal and professional relationships you will develop with your patients and colleagues. As a dental hygienist, you are the most important spokesperson for oral health in the dental practice. Dental Hygienist is listed by US News and World Report as No. 5 among America's 100 Best Jobs.

Dental Hygiene is also among the fastest-growing professions in the country

The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics estimates that the number of Licensed Dental Hygienists will increase by 13,300 jobs from 2019 through 2029, a 6 percent increase. Ongoing research linking oral health to general health will continue to spur demand for preventive dental services, which are provided by dental hygienists. In order to become a dental hygienist, students must graduate from a CODA accredited dental hygiene program, pass the written National Board Dental Hygiene Exam, pass a state accepted clinical exam and (in most states) pass a law and ethics or jurisprudence exam.

Dental hygienists need an associate's degree

Dental hygienists need an associate's degree in dental hygiene. Programs typically take three years to complete. However, Concorde's dental hygiene programs can get you to your career in about half the time. All states require dental hygienists to be licensed; requirements vary by state. Dental hygienists choosing to remain in clinical practice broaden their responsibilities by pursuing certificate programs, a Bachelor of Science Degree and even a Master's Degree. Increased compensation might also come with improved clinical and patient management skills. Given the growth of the profession, dental hygiene educators are in increasingly high demand. Another popular dental training program is to become a dental assistant. As the dental products industry grows, dental hygienists will also be able to leverage their experience and knowledge as dental sales representatives, product experts, and administrators.