They are the healthcare professionals who examine and clean the teeth and also educate patients on preventative oral care. They are in charge of preparing clinical and laboratory diagnostic tests that would be interpreted by dentists but do not determine and treat oral problems.
A dentist can offer three main types of services and these are: prevention, education and treatment. At a patient’s dental visit, they will be referred to a dental hygienist who will be able to check their gums and teeth for possible oral problems. Educating patients on maintaining good oral hygiene is a service offered by a good dental hygienist, how to floss and how to select the right toothbrush are examples of this. A care plan could also be made that would be available for patients to take home. The dentist might also be doing things like removing hard and soft stain deposits, tartar, and plaque from the teeth, if necessary. Oral care professionals may also administer anesthetics, prepare and apply filling materials, and remove sutures. To provide patients with the best oral care possible, dental hygienists work hand in hand with dentists and nurses.
The dental hygienist care process:
• Patient Assessment: This includes, but is not limited to, a complete review of the patient’s medical history, any necessary x-rays, a clinical examination, and a periodontal evaluation by probing and scanning areas of the patient’s mouth. Thorough documentation should be implemented during this stage.
• Dental Hygiene Diagnosis: Evaluation of data related to a client’s condition/condition in terms that will help identify problems leading to a treatment plan/professional therapies. The final diagnosis of the disease and/or treatments corresponds solely to the competence and/or approval granted by the doctor.
• Planning: creation of a sequential treatment plan for the patient. The treatment plan will vary according to the immediate needs of the patient.
• Implementation: carrying out the plan in a timely and effective manner.
• Evaluation – Determine the effectiveness of the treatment plan that was administered. If ineffective, a full assessment of how to address the patient’s needs differently.
Education, Training and Certification
To become this type of profession, one must complete at least a 2-year associate’s degree for dental hygienist program. A 4-year bachelor’s degree can also be obtained for students who wish to expand their clinical knowledge and advance their career more quickly. For those students who wish to explore further, a master’s degree is also offered. The requirements needed before admission to a dental hygienist program are usually a high school diploma and college entrance exam scores. It is essential that the applicant is at least 18 years old. Students are required to complete a specified number of hours in a dental office throughout their dental hygiene program, and this is commonly with the guidance of a licensed dentist or dental hygienist.
In the United States, a dental hygienist must first acquire a license in the state where the person would like to work. One must have a degree in dental hygiene program with an accreditation from the American Dental Hygienists Association in order to apply for licensure. Students must also take a written and clinical examination prior to obtaining their license.
There were 181,800 jobs in this line of work in 2010. A growth of 38% or approximately 68,500 jobs is expected to open in the US in this field in the year 2020. This has been ranked as one of the fastest growing occupations primarily due to population growth and renewed focus on oral care. Hospitals and private dentists are hiring more dental hygienists to meet the needs of patients across the United States.
The dental hygienist job is available part-time or full-time, highly dependent on the dental clinic you will be working for. The normal hours of work for this position are the normal opening hours of dental clinics, which is from 9 a.m. to 8 p.m. on weekdays.
Factors Affecting the Salary of a Dental Hygienist
The main factor affecting the salary of a dental hygienist is education. Those who have graduated with a master’s degree usually hold positions in teaching, administration, and public health, and these are the ones that tend to have the highest salaries. 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 Annual Income
The indicated annual income of a dental hygienist is $69,760, this has been calculated by adding all salaries within the occupation and this will be divided by the total number of employees. The bottom 10% in this race earned less than $46,020 and the top 10% earned more than $94,850. The median hourly wage for a dental hygienist is $33.54. The bottom 10% earn $22.12 while the top 10% earn $45.60. The highest paying environment in this job is the dentists office.
Below are the highest paying cities and states:
San Francisco CA: $106,120
New Haven, CT: $105,420
Santa Rosa, Calif.: $98,000
Bremerton, Wash.: $97,990
Modesto, Calif.: $96,950
District of Columbia: $90,500
States with the highest level of employment:
4. New York