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What Is a Dental Hygienist?

So, you are thinking about a career as a dental hygienist?

Well, that’s awesome!

The question is, do you have what it takes?

Keep reading to find out more..

If you are interested in becoming a dental hygienist, you are in good company. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the workforce is made up of 207,900 dental hygienists in the United States.

So, is there any room left for you?

Great question!

And the answer is yes.

Employment of dental hygienists is projected to grow by 20 percent from 2016 to 2026, much faster than the average for all occupations. Growth will occur for a number of reasons.

One important driver for this growth is the aging population. As the number of old people increases, the demand for dental services will also keep growing. There is also continuing research that links oral health to overall health. This makes people more conscious of their dental health and hygiene, encouraging them to avail of the services of dental hygienists.

Who is becoming a dental hygienist?

According to datausa.io, close to 96% of the dental hygienist workforce is made up of women.

What personal qualities and characteristics make a good dental hygienist?

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the following qualities are important to have as a dental hygienist.

  • Critical thinking. Dental hygienists must use critical thinking skills in order to assess and evaluate patients.
  • Communication skills. Dental hygienists must accurately communicate with dentists and patients about oral health status, oral hygiene care plans, and, as needed, lifestyle counseling.
  • Detail oriented. Dental hygienists must follow specific rules and protocols to help dentists diagnose and treat a patient. Depending on the state in which they work and/or the treatment provided, dental hygienists may work without the direct supervision of a dentist.
  • Dexterity. Dental hygienists must be good at working with their hands. They generally work in tight quarters on a small part of the body, requiring fine motor skills using very precise tools and instruments.
  • Interpersonal skills. Dental hygienists must work closely with dentists and patients. Some patients are in extreme pain or have fears about undergoing dental treatment, and the hygienist must be sensitive to their emotions.
  • Problem-solving skills. Dental hygienists develop and implement oral hygiene care plans to maintain or improve patients’ oral health.

The bottom line: If becoming a dental hygienist is something you feel passionately about, the one word of advice we will give you is: Go for it!