What Is a Dental Hygienist and How Much Salary Does One Get?

They are the health care professionals who examine and clean the teeth and also educate patients about oral care prevention. They are the ones in charged in preparing clinical and laboratory diagnostic test that would be interpreted by the dentists but they do not determine and treat oral problems.

A dentist can offer three main types of services and these are: prevention, education and treatment. In a patient’s dental visit, they will be advised to go to a dental hygienist who will be able to take a look at their gums and teeth for possible oral problems. Educating the patients in maintaining good oral hygiene is a service being offered by a good dental hygienist, how to floss and how to select the right toothbrush are examples of this. A care plan might also be made that would be available to be taken home by the patients. Dentist might also be doing things like removing hard and soft stains deposits, tartar and plaque from teeth, if needed. Oral care professionals are also allowed in rendering anesthetics, preparing and applying materials for filling and removing sutures. In order to provide patients the best oral care possible, dental hygienists are working hand in hand with the dentists and nurses.

The Dental Hygienist Process of Care:

• Assessing the patient – This includes, but is not limited to, a full review of the patient’s medical history, necessary x-rays to be taken, a clinical exam, and a periodontal assessment by probing and exploring areas of the patients mouth. During this stage a thorough documentation must be implemented.

• Dental hygiene diagnosis – Assessing of data pertaining to a client’s condition/state in terms that will help identify problems so as to lead to a professional treatment plan/ therapies. The final diagnosis of disease and/or treatments solely lies with jurisdiction and/or approval granted by the doctor.

• Planning – Creating a sequential treatment plan for the patient. The treatment plan will vary based on the patient’s immediate needs.

• Implementation – Carrying out the plan in a timely and effective manner.

• Evaluation – Determining the effectiveness of the treatment plan that was administered. If ineffective a complete evaluation on how to approach the patient’s needs differently.

Education, Training and Certification

To become this kind of profession, one must finish at least a 2-year Associate’s degree for the dental hygienist program. A 4-year Bachelor’s degree can also be taken for those students who wanted to widen their knowledge clinically and for faster career advancement. For those students who would like to explore more, Master’s degree is also being offered. The requirements needed prior for the admission to a dental hygienist program are usually a high school diploma and college entrance examination scores. It is a must that the applicant is at least 18 years old. A specific number of hours in a dental office must be completed by students throughout their dental hygiene program, and this is commonly with the guidance of a dentist or a licensed dental hygienist.

In the United States, a dental hygienist should acquire a license first in the state where the individual would like to work. One must have a degree in dental hygiene program with an accreditation from the American Dental Hygienist Association to be able to apply for licensure. Students must also submit a written and clinical examination prior in obtaining their license.

Career Perspective

There were 181, 800 jobs in this line of work in 2010. An expected growth of 38{15aeb35eec840799df247626cfa6821cb9499241e90aba7a245c8546144fd8f4} or approximately 68,500 jobs will be opened in the US in this field in the year 2020. This has been ranked as one of the fastest growing occupations mainly due to the raising population and the reconditioned concentration on oral care. More dental hygienists are hired by hospitals and private dental practitioners in order to meet the needs of patients throughout the United States.

Work Schedule

Dental hygienist job is available in part time or full time, it would largely depend on the dental clinic they will be working for. The common working hours of this job is the usual open hours of dental clinics which is from 9am to 8pm on weekdays.

Factors That Affects the Salary of a Dental Hygienist

The main factor that affects the salary of a dental hygienist is education. Those who have graduated with a Master’s degree usually have positions in teaching, administration, public health and these are the ones who tend to have a greater salary. It has also been known that experience and job duties are also the determining factors that will affect the salary of a dental hygienist.

Indicated Yearly Income

The indicated yearly income of a dental hygienist is $69, 760, this has been calculated by adding all the salaries within the occupation and this will be divided by the entire number of employees. The lowest 10{15aeb35eec840799df247626cfa6821cb9499241e90aba7a245c8546144fd8f4} in this career got less than $46,020 and the top 10{15aeb35eec840799df247626cfa6821cb9499241e90aba7a245c8546144fd8f4} got over $94,850. The mean hourly salary of a dental hygienist is $33.54. The lowest 10{15aeb35eec840799df247626cfa6821cb9499241e90aba7a245c8546144fd8f4} makes $22.12 while the top 10{15aeb35eec840799df247626cfa6821cb9499241e90aba7a245c8546144fd8f4} makes $45.60. The highest paying environment on this job is the office of the dentists.

Below are the Highest Paying Cities and States:


San Francisco CA: $106,120

New Haven, CT: $105,420

Santa Rosa, CA: $98,000

Bremerton, WA: $97,990

Modesto, CA: $96,950


California: $91,010

District of Columbia: $90,500

Washington: $90,420

Nevada: $88,620

Alaska: $86,310

States with Highest Employment Level:

1. California

2. Texas

3. Florida

4. New York

5. Michigan

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