Career Detail


Dental Hygienist
Dental hygienists remove soft and hard deposits from teeth, teach patients how to practice good oral hygiene, and provide other preventive dental care.
The Job
Dental hygienists use an assortment of different tools to complete their tasks. Hand and rotary instruments and ultrasonic devices are used to clean and polish teeth, including removing calculus, stains, and plaque. Hygienists use x-ray machines to take dental pictures, and sometimes develop the film.
Work Environment
Dental hygienists work in clean, well-lighted offices. Important health safeguards include strict adherence to proper radiological procedures and the use of appropriate protective devices when adminis
College Majors
bachelor's Degree
Minimum Qualifications
Prospective dental hygienists must become licensed in the State in which they wish to practice.
Personality traits helpful for this career
Dental hygienists should work well with others because they work closely with dentists and dental assistants as well as dealing directly with patients.
Quick Facts
  • A degree from an accredited dental hygiene school and a State license are required for this job.
  • Dental hygienists rank among the fastest growing occupations.
  • Job prospects are expected to remain excellent.
  • More than half work part time, and flexible scheduling is a distinctive feature of this job.
Compensation and Outlook
Median annual wages of dental hygienists were $66,570 in May 2008. The middle 50 percent earned between $55,220 and $78,990. The lowest 10 percent earned less than $44,180, and the highest 10 percent earned more than $91,470. Benefits vary substantially by practice setting and may be contingent upon full-time employment.
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H.S. diploma H.S. diploma
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