WHAT THEY DO:
Every six months we are told to have a dental check up and if we are lucky all we have done is a cleaning. The person who cleans our teeth is called a dental hygienist.
A couple of years ago when I was getting my teeth cleaned the dental hygienist noticed my gums were bleeding and suggested I start flossing regularly and in addition start using a water pic to help remove the food particles not removed by brushing. She explained that my gums would get stronger and the bleeding would taper off. I took her advice and honestly believe her advice helped me solve this problem.
Dental hygienists typically do the following:
Remove tartar, stains, and plaque from teeth
Apply sealants and fluorides to help protect teeth
Take and develop dental x rays
Assess patients’ oral health and report findings to dentists
Document patient care and treatment plans
Educate patients about oral hygiene techniques, such as how to brush and floss correctly
EDUCATION AND TRAINING:
Dental hygienists typically need an associate’s degree in dental hygiene. Bachelor’s degrees in dental hygiene are also available, but are less common. Dental hygiene programs are commonly found in community colleges and technical schools. High school students interested in becoming dental hygienists should take courses in biology, chemistry, and math.
When I investigated this occupation for this website I was surprised to find out how much money a dental hygienist makes. They work regular hours Monday through Friday in a pleasant work environment, plus about half of them work on a part-time basis. One ad for a dental hygienist job offered $450 per day salary for three days a week work (Median Wage – $71,520 Per Year).
Women account for the majority of Dental Hygienists in the United States. The entire group has an average salary of $32.57 per hour. Total cash incomes of Dental Hygienists run from $46K to $87K, depending on bonuses that can occasionally exceed $3K, profit sharing that reaches $6K, and some commissions of nearly $20K.
Employment of dental hygienists is projected to grow 19 percent from 2014 to 2024, much faster than the average for all occupations. As the large baby-boom population ages and people retain more of their original teeth than previous generations did, the need to maintain and treat these teeth will continue to drive demand for dental care.