Dental hygienists play a pivotal role in maintaining oral health and preventing dental issues. Their expertise ensures that patients receive the highest standard of dental care. In this blog, Afdent Dental will delve into the daily activities, educational requirements, and the pros and cons of pursuing a career as a dental hygienist.
Daily Activities of a Dental Hygienist
- Patient Assessment and History Review: Dental hygienists begin their day by reviewing patient files, checking medical history, and discussing any concerns or issues with the dentist.
- Oral Examinations and Cleanings: This is the core responsibility of a dental hygienist. They perform thorough oral examinations to detect any signs of dental problems and conduct cleanings to remove plaque, tartar, and stains from teeth.
- Taking X-Rays: Dental hygienists are skilled in capturing dental images (X-rays) which aid in diagnosing underlying dental conditions that may not be visible during a routine examination.
- Educating Patients on Oral Health: They provide valuable information on proper oral hygiene practices, including brushing, flossing, and diet, tailored to each patient’s specific needs.
- Applying Fluoride Treatments and Sealants: Dental hygienists apply fluoride treatments to strengthen tooth enamel and sealants to protect teeth from decay.
- Scaling and Root Planing: In cases of advanced gum disease, hygienists perform deep cleaning procedures to remove plaque and tartar from below the gum line.
- Assisting in Dental Procedures: They assist dentists during various dental procedures, including fillings, extractions, and other treatments.
- Recording Treatment Plans: Accurate documentation of the procedures performed and treatment plans ensures continuity of care and assists in future appointments.
To embark on a career as a dental hygienist, a combination of education and practical training is
required. Typically, this involves:
- Associate’s Degree: The most common educational path is completing a two-year associate’s degree program in dental hygiene accredited by the Commission on Dental Accreditation (CODA).
- Licensing: After graduating from an accredited program, candidates must pass both written and clinical exams administered by their state’s dental board to become a licensed dental hygienist.
- Continuing Education: To maintain their license, dental hygienists must engage in ongoing professional development and education.
Pros of a Career as a Dental Hygienist
- Job Stability and Demand: The demand for dental hygienists is expected to grow faster than average, providing excellent job security.
- Flexible Work Arrangements: Many dental hygienists have the option to work part-time or on a flexible schedule, making it a great choice for those seeking work-life balance.
- Positive Impact on Health: By educating patients on proper oral hygiene and providing preventive care, dental hygienists play a crucial role in maintaining overall health.
- Competitive Salary: Dental hygienists are typically compensated well for their expertise and the demand for their services.
Cons of a Career as a Dental Hygienist
- Physically Demanding: The job may require prolonged periods of standing and leaning over patients, which can be physically demanding.
- Exposure to Infections: Dental hygienists work in close proximity to patients’ mouths, potentially increasing the risk of exposure to infections.
- Emotionally Taxing: Some patients may have dental anxiety or be in pain, which can be emotionally challenging for dental hygienists.
- Repetitive Tasks: Dental hygienists perform similar tasks on a daily basis, which can become monotonous for some individuals. This may lead to a feeling of routine or predictability in the job.
A career as a dental hygienist is both rewarding and in-demand, offering the opportunity to make a positive impact on patients’ lives. If you’re interested in joining our team at Afdent Dental in Mishawaka or Ft. Wayne, Indiana, please visit our Careers page to learn more about available positions. Contact us today to explore the exciting opportunities in the field of dental hygiene!