Dental Hygienists

Health Science > Therapeutic Services

Projected Growth: Much faster than average

17900+
Projected Job Openings

Medium Preparation Needed

Job Description

Your job is to Clean teeth and examine oral areas, head, and neck for signs of oral disease. May educate patients on oral hygiene, take and develop x rays, or apply fluoride or sealants.

Common job titles of Dental Hygienists include:
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Experience and Education

Previous work-related skill, knowledge, or experience is required for these occupations. For example, an electrician must have completed three or four years of apprenticeship or several years of vocational training, and often must have passed a licensing exam, in order to perform the job.

  • 78.53% said they needed a Associate's Degree.

  • 20.7% said they needed a Bachelor's Degree.

Essential Tasks

    Chart conditions of decay and disease for diagnosis and treatment by dentist.

    Clean calcareous deposits, accretions, and stains from teeth and beneath margins of gums, using dental instruments.

    Feel lymph nodes under patient's chin to detect swelling or tenderness that could indicate presence of oral cancer.

    Maintain dental equipment and sharpen and sterilize dental instruments.

    Feel and visually examine gums for sores and signs of disease.

    Examine gums, using probes, to locate periodontal recessed gums and signs of gum disease.

    Record and review patient medical histories.

    Apply fluorides or other cavity preventing agents to arrest dental decay.

    Expose and develop x-ray film.

    Provide clinical services or health education to improve and maintain the oral health of patients or the general public.

    Maintain patient recall system.

    Administer local anesthetic agents.


Regular Tasks

    Remove excess cement from coronal surfaces of teeth.


Occasional Tasks

    Make impressions for study casts.

    Place and remove rubber dams, matrices, and temporary restorations.

    Remove sutures and dressings.

    Conduct dental health clinics for community groups to augment services of dentist.

Tools

Ultrasonic sterilization units

Ultrasonic scalers

Suctioning equipment

Solid handle scalars

Saliva ejectors

Rubber dams

Rotating caps

All Tools

Retraction cords

Pulp testers

Portable dental x ray units

Personal computers

Periodontal probes

Periapical films

Panoramic dental x ray units

Oxygen administration equipment

Notebook computers

Nitrous oxide administration equipment

Neodymium-doped Yttrium Aluminum Garnet Nd:YAG dental lasers

Nabers furcation probes

Motor-driven dental polishers

Microscope slides

Mercury blood pressure units

Mechanical stethoscopes

Mechanical mixers

Matrices/matrix retainers

Manual blood pressure cuffs

Lead aprons

Intraoral dental cameras

Instrument sharpening devices

Impression trays

Hollow handle scalars

Hand scalers

Film badges

Electronic calculus detectors

Electronic blood pressure units

Digital dental x ray units

Digital cameras

Dental x ray machines

Dental x ray development equipment

Dental polishers

Dental needles

Dental lasers

Dental curettes

Dental chairs

Cotton pliers

Computer scanners

Cavitron equipment

Caries explorers

Caries detection aids

Calculus explorers

Bite wings

Autoscalars

Autoclaves

Aspirating syringes

Angle formers

Amalgam carriers

Air/water syringes

Air-driven dental polishers

Air abrasion equipment

Technologies

Dental billing software

Dental charting software

Dental clinical records software

Dental digital radiology software

Dental imaging software

Dental office management software

Henry Schein Dentrix

All Technologies

Patterson Dental Supply Patterson EagleSoft

Scheduling software

Voice-activated perio charting software

Skills

Speaking

Talking to others to convey information effectively.

Active Listening

Giving full attention to what other people are saying, taking time to understand the points being made, asking questions as appropriate, and not interrupting at inappropriate times.

Critical Thinking

Using logic and reasoning to identify the strengths and weaknesses of alternative solutions, conclusions or approaches to problems.

Writing

Communicating effectively in writing as appropriate for the needs of the audience.

Monitoring

Monitoring/Assessing performance of yourself, other individuals, or organizations to make improvements or take corrective action.

Social Perceptiveness

Being aware of others' reactions and understanding why they react as they do.

Service Orientation

Actively looking for ways to help people.

Judgment and Decision Making

Considering the relative costs and benefits of potential actions to choose the most appropriate one.

Reading Comprehension

Understanding written sentences and paragraphs in work related documents.

Active Learning

Understanding the implications of new information for both current and future problem-solving and decision-making.

Coordination

Adjusting actions in relation to others' actions.

Persuasion

Persuading others to change their minds or behavior.

Instructing

Teaching others how to do something.

Time Management

Managing one's own time and the time of others.

Abilities

Cognitive Abilities › Idea Generation and Reasoning Abilities › Problem Sensitivity

Tell when something is wrong or is likely to go wrong. It does not involve solving the problem, only recognizing there is a problem.

Cognitive Abilities › Verbal Abilities › Oral Comprehension

Listen to and understand information and ideas presented through spoken words and sentences.

Cognitive Abilities › Verbal Abilities › Oral Expression

Communicate information and ideas in speaking so others will understand.

Knowledge

Medicine and Dentistry

Knowledge of the information and techniques needed to diagnose and treat human injuries, diseases, and deformities. This includes symptoms, treatment alternatives, drug properties and interactions, and preventive health-care measures.

English Language

Knowledge of the structure and content of the English language including the meaning and spelling of words, rules of composition, and grammar.

Psychology

Knowledge of human behavior and performance; individual differences in ability, personality, and interests; learning and motivation; psychological research methods; and the assessment and treatment of behavioral and affective disorders.

Biology

Knowledge of plant and animal organisms, their tissues, cells, functions, interdependencies, and interactions with each other and the environment.

Education and Training

Knowledge of principles and methods for curriculum and training design, teaching and instruction for individuals and groups, and the measurement of training effects.

Sales and Marketing

Knowledge of principles and methods for showing, promoting, and selling products or services. This includes marketing strategy and tactics, product demonstration, sales techniques, and sales control systems.

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