Who is Dental Hygienist & What Does He Do?

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If you wish to start a career in health care that has more scope and is very high in demand, becoming a dental hygienist might be the way for you to go. According to a report by the Bureau of Labor Statistics, this particular health field has a projected 10-year growth rate of about 9% with an average annual salary of about $77,810.

These figures show how well dental hygienists are going to do in the near future in terms of career opportunities and annual earnings. In this article, we will tell you exactly what a dental hygienist is and what are some of the responsibilities they handle.

This information will help you determine whether being a dental hygienist is for you or not. This way you can make a much better career choice based on facts.

What is a Dental Hygienist?

A dental hygienist is a licensed healthcare professional that works with a dentist to take care of things like teeth and gums examination, teeth cleaning, collecting and documenting medical records, and educating patients in good dental care practices.

These individuals can help patients adopt good oral and dental hygiene and health practices. This is a really exciting and rewarding healthcare career that comes with many job opportunities for young aspirants.    

What Does a Dental Hygienist Do?

Following are a few main responsibilities that a dental hygienist has to perform in their medical health career

  1. Reviewing Dental Health History

In order to come up with a personalized dental treatment and hygiene plan, the dental hygienist reviews the dental health history of the patients. This tool helps dental hygienists and dentists to understand patients’ dental health state and record the previously done procedures.

By reviewing the dental health history, the dental hygienist can easily assess oral health risks and minimize medical emergencies.

  1. Screening

Before the dentist can perform any work, they ask dental hygienists to conduct a thorough screening of the patients. This helps them determine certain diseases like gum damage, tooth decay, etc.

Screening usually takes a few minutes but this process can significantly improve the success rates of the medical procedure. This screening covers areas like the mouth, head, and neck. Thus, a dental hygienist can help prevent serious complications by quickly identifying underlying conditions.

  1. Dental Cleaning

Dental cleaning is another significant job that every dental hygienist excels at. These people are trained in the right medical tools and techniques to clean your tooth completely. They can identify plaque, tartar, stains, and other such issues and quickly take the steps to remove these before they damage your teeth permanently.

By thoroughly cleaning your teeth, your dental hygienist can prevent cavities and tooth loss which gives the patient a bright and beautiful smile. Having your teeth cleaned by a dental hygienist ensures that your entire set of teeth gets an equal amount of care and cleaning. This helps you enjoy much better oral health.

  1. Performing Dental X-Rays

Every dental hygienist knows the importance of dental X-rays for preventive dental care. They know when and how to perform dental X-rays. This helps them spot the problems early on and devise a treatment plan without wasting any of your time.

With the help of an X-ray, your dentist can identify cavities, oral infections, gum diseases, etc. The dental hygienist considers various factors before recommending dental X-rays. These include the current dental state, age, and oral health risks of the patients.

A dental hygienist can not only take your X-rays but they can also interpret these to help you understand your current dental condition.

  1. Educating Patients About Dental Hygiene

A dental hygienist knows all the insights into good dental hygiene. They can help the patients understand the importance of following a dental care plan. They can look at your particular dental condition and recommend the most effective dental care regimen that you can follow to get better results.

They can teach you how to properly brush and floss. They can also help you understand how certain eating habits can affect your oral health. Thus, a dental hygienist can help you take the best care of your teeth and overall oral health.

  1. Documenting Treatment and Care

It is the job of a dental hygienist to build a strong link between the dentist and the patient. They can assess their patient’s medical condition and prepare an extensive report that helps the dentist in devising an effective treatment plan.

They document things like medical history, current treatment plans, progress, and many other such aspects. The dental hygienist discusses their findings with the patients and that helps the patients review their treatment options.            

This helps them prepare the patients for their visits with the dentist and that leads to a much better dental treatment experience.

Where Do Dental Hygienists Work?

Most dental hygienists work in dental clinics either on a part-time or full-time basis. As a dental hygienist, you can also get a job in public health clinics, nursing homes, schools, hospitals, and managed care organizations.

You can also get an advanced degree to avail more job opportunities such as teaching a dental hygienist course, administering public health programs, and managing dental offices and healthcare clinics.  

Job Outlook and Potential Salary

As of 2023 the median salary for a dental hygienist is about $37.41 per hour and $77,810 per year. Currently, there are about 206,100 dental hygienists registered in the US and according to BLS from 2021 to 2031 the number of job openings in this field is projected to increase by 9%. This means there are expected to be about 16,300 new jobs each year in the dental hygienist career in this decade.    

Final Words

So, now you know what a dental hygienist is and what are their key job responsibilities. This career option can take you way ahead in terms of annual income and job security. The future looks quite promising for this field and that is why it is advised that you too consider this as a career path.  

If you are looking for the best dental hygienists in London, get in touch with us at Specialist Dental Services.  

Dr. Narinder Dhadwal

Narinder is a Specialist Periodontist based in private practice. She qualified from St. Bartholomew’s & The Royal London School of Medicine and Dentistry, Queen Mary, University of London in 2007. During her studies she was awarded the Harold Fink Prize for outstanding academic achievement.

Posted On : July 20, 2023




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