What it takes to be a dental hygienist. This report will benefit; future dental hygienists, anyone considering becoming a dental hygienist, and even patients because it will show them everything they need to know about dental hygienists and the career itself. Here you will learn everything from schooling, after schooling, and the actual job.
First off, schooling and the dental hygiene program. To become a dental hygienist all states require you to get your dental hygiene license. You need an associates degree in dental hygiene but some may go further in their education to get a bachelor’s degree as well, (Bureau of Labor Statistics). Most dental hygiene programs require you to take at least 96 quarter units or 64 semester units. There are over 30 dental hygiene programs in California offering associate degrees and around 4 programs in California offering bachelor’s degrees, (adha). A high school diploma and college entrance test are typically required for admission into a dental hygiene program. Many programs also require that students have a minimum of one year of college behind them. Most programs will require you to take courses like; anatomy, chemistry, physiology, pharmacology, microbiology, radiography, periodontology, oral pathology, dental materials, and histology, as well as other courses like college level math, English, and other basic units, (Study). Some people may only do one year in community college and go straight into a program offering an associate’s. Others may take the option of doing their prerequisites like math, English, and other basic units at a community college and then transferring to a program offering a bachelor’s degree. If that’s not an option for some, they could always go through an associates program then transfer to a bachelor’s program in the future. The difference between an A.S. degree and a B.S. degree is an associate science degree in dental hygiene is generally a two year program and qualifies graduates to work in a private dental office as a hygienist, where as a bachelor’s degree in dental hygiene is a four year program for graduates who already have their associate’s degree. A graduate from a bachelor’s program can work in a private dental office in the same capacity as a hygienist with an associates degree but may be able to work with greater autonomy or can work in school health programs or other state facilities. A bachelor’s degree also prepares graduates for a Masters degree in dental hygiene so they can teach or do research in the field, (Leaf Group).
Second, what happens after the dental hygiene program. Once you have completed all schooling and have graduated from the dental hygiene program with a dental hygiene license and an A.S. or B.S. degree you can finally do what you have to waiting for, apply to dental offices. You do not need work experience in a related occupation to get hired and there is no on the job training, (Bureau of Labor Statistics). All you have to do is apply to offices hiring and go through the interview process. Of course, preparing yourself for interviews is key. Researching and going over questions they may ask you specifically for dental hygiene interviews is the best thing you could do to prepare for your interview. One of the most important questions they ask in a dental hygiene interview is, “What important qualities do you have or should a dental hygienist have?” Some of the best answers to that question is; critical thinking, compassion, detail oriented, dexterity, and interpersonal skills. For dental hygienists critical thinking is important because you use it in order to assess and evaluate patients, compassion because a hygienist needs to be sensitive to the patient’s emotions especially when the patient is in pain or scared, detail oriented because a hygienist must follow specific rules and protocols to help the dentist diagnose and treat the patient, dexterity because dental hygienist must be good with their hands because they work in such a small part of the body requiring good motor skills working with tools and instruments, and interpersonal skills because the hygienist must work closely with dentists and patients, (College Grad).
Lastly, what it’s like to be a dental hygienist and everything else you need to know about the job. As a dental hygienist you do everything from cleaning teeth, examining patients for signs of oral diseases, and provide other preventive care like educating patients on ways to improve and maintain good oral health, as well as helping the dentist diagnose and treat the patient, (Bureau of Labor Statistics). To go into more detail; you clean calcareous deposits, accretions, and stains from teeth and beneath margins of gums using dental instruments, record and review patient medical history, examine gums using probes to locate periodontal recessed gums and signs of gum disease, feel and visually examine gums for sores and signs of disease, and expose and develop x-ray film, (O*NET Online). To every upside of being a dental hygienist there will also be downsides just like with every career. Some pros of being a dental hygienist are; growing employment, great salary, and flexibility. Growing employment is a pro because the field is growing rapidly, employment of dental hygienists is expected to increase by 19% from 2014 to 2024, (Bureau of Labor Statistics). Growing employment is also a pro because dental hygiene will always be in demand because people will always need their teeth to be cleaned. Great salary is a pro because well, who wouldn’t want to make a lot of money while doing something they love? In May 2015 the median annual wage for dental hygienists was $72,330; the lowest 10% earned less than $50,140 and the highest 10% earned more than $98,440 , (College Grad). Flexibility is a pro because dental hygienists have the option of working full time or part time and unlike some other careers dental hygienist usually don’t have to work nights, weekends or holidays and some dental hygienists get to choose the days and hours they work. Some cons of being or becoming a dental hygienist are; not much career variety, it can be repetitive, and occasionally having unpleasant patients. Not much clearer variety can be a con because some degrees lead you on multiple career options unlike this one, dental hygiene is pretty much the same wherever you live or work. Dental hygiene being repetitive can be a con because you repeat the same tasks in the same environment every day and some might end up bored of it. Occasionally having unpleasant patients can be a con because not all patients will have bright white smiles some patients will have bad breath, swollen gums or tooth decay which can get gross, (Carrington Author).
Dental hygiene could be a great career choice for those who want a higher salary, flexible schedule, pretty minimal schooling time or just flat out want to give the world a few more brighter smiles. This report can benefit; future dental hygienists, anyone considering becoming a dental hygienist, and even patients if anyone wants to look further into the schooling, after schooling, or the job itself.
Adha. (2016, November 3). Entry-Level Dental Hygiene Programs. Retrieved from http://www.adha.org/resources-docs/71617_Entry_Level_Schools_By_States.pdf
This source gives a list of all of the dental hygiene programs in the US. It shows what certificate each program offers whether it be an associate’s degree, bachelor’s degree, or a certificate. It also shows the address of the program as well as the phone number. I used this source to show what dental hygiene programs their are in California and if they offer an associate’s degree a bachelor’s degree or both.
Bureau of Labor Statistics, U.S. Department of Labor, Occupational Outlook Handbook, 2016/17 Edition, Dental Hygienists. Retrieved from https://www.bls.gov/ooh/healthcare/dental-hygienists.htm
This source shows almost everything you need to know about dental hygiene. It shows the salary of a dental hygienist with an associate’s degree, what a hygienist does, what the work environment is like, how to become a dental hygienist, similar occupations and more. I used this source to show one of the degrees you need, that you do not need work experience in a related occupation to get hired and that there is no on the job training, the basic things that a dental hygienist does, and the growing employment in dental hygiene.
Carrington Author. Carrington College. (2016, December 20). Pros and Cons of Being a Dental Hygienist. Retrieved from http://carrington.edu/blog/dental/pros-cons-dental-hygienist/
This source shows the pros and cons of what it’s like to be a dental hygienist. I used it to show the pros of dental hygiene like; growing employment, great salary, and flexibility and why all of them are pros. I also used it to show the cons of dental hygiene like; not much career variety, how it can be repetitive, and how you can occasionally have unpleasant patients and why all of them are cons.
College Grad. Dental Hygienist: Career, Salary, and Education Information. Retrieved from https://collegegrad.com/careers/dental-hygienists
This source shows a lot about dental hygiene. It shows what dental hygienists do, their duties, the environment, the work schedule, the qualities a hygienist needs, and the outlook. I used this source to show what qualities a dental hygienist needs or should talk about in an interview and why.
Leaf Group, Seattle Pi. (2013, July 21). Difference Between an A.S. Degree and a B.S. Degree for a Dental Hygienist/ Education- Seattle Pi. Retrieved from http://education.seattlepi.com/difference-between-as-degree-bs-degree-dental-hygienist-2240.html
This source shows what the differences are between getting your associate’s degree in dental hygiene vs. getting your bachelor’s degree in dental hygiene. It shows you the degree requirements you have to meet and the job opportunities you get with an A.S. degree, and what degree requirements you need to meet and the job opportunities you get with a B.S. degree. I used this source to show the differences between the two.
O*NET Online. (2016). Summary Report For: Dental Hygienists. Retrieved from https://www.onetonline.org/link/summary/29-2021.00
This source goes into detail about the actual tasks a dental hygienist does, as well as the technology skills, knowledge, abilities, work context and more about the career. I used the source to show in detail what a dental hygienist does like; cleaning calcareous deposits, accretions, and stains from teeth and beneath margins of gums using dental instruments, record and review patient medical history, examine gums using probes to locate periodontal recessed gums and signs of gum disease, feel and visually examine gums for sores and signs of disease, and expose and develop x-ray film.
Study. Accredited Business. How Long Does It Take to Become a Dental Hygienist? Retrieved from http://study.com/how_long_does_it_take_to_become_a_dental_hygienist.html
This source shows how long it takes to become a dental hygienist, what classes need to be taken and some of the basic steps you need to take to reach a degree. I used this source to show some of the classes you need to take like; anatomy, chemistry, physiology, pharmacology, microbiology, radiography, periodontology, oral pathology, dental materials, and histology, as well as other courses like college level math, English, and other basic units.