What Does a Dental Hygienist Do?

Clinical Dental Hygienist

A clinical dental hygienist does more than just clean teeth! We are part of a dental team that provides preventative dental strategies, education for patients regarding oral health and help provide solutions to achieve oral care success. With biannual cleanings, dental hygienists are the backbone of any dental clinic, as they provide the most chair time with each patient.

Not only do we polish the teeth, we educate patients by teaching specialized techniques in how to properly brush their teeth and demonstrate the correct way to floss. We also discuss the importance of oral health, as many general health issues, such as diabetes and heart disease, are directly correlated with oral cavity. As healthcare providers, we also offer oral cancer screenings, along with education on these oral cancers and how to prevent them.

Dental Hygiene Research

As a dental hygienist, you will have the opportunity to advance your career into the field of dental research. Though research has been the basis of advancing our field and creating the position of dental hygiene, not many dental hygienists pursue this is an option after graduation. Currently, a research based career would require a graduate level of education and further knowledge of how to properly conduct research.

By doing advanced research in the dental field, you will be involved with promoting public health, help with disease prevention, and many other healthcare related services. Not only would you be researching the profession of dental hygiene, you would be on the forefront in advancing the field for future success.

Dental Hygiene Sales

When considering your dental hygiene career, one can also contemplate a specific niche career involving dental sales. These positions usually require travel that is regionally or territory based. The sales position may include many specific products, such as instruments, equipment or one specific product. It involves great people skills, and outgoing attitude and dental knowledge of an experience practitioner.

Advanced Dental Hygiene Practitioner

Can’t decide between dental hygiene school and dental school? Becoming an Advanced Dental Hygiene Practitioner (ADHP) may be the answer! This particular master’s program gives you the dental hygiene knowledge you crave, but gives you expanded duties to perform simple dental procedure under the supervision of a dentist. The ADHP will be involved in public health, work clinically with other dentists and promote oral healthcare, especially in rural areas.

Dental Hygiene Clinic Instructor

Love the profession of dental hygiene and want to teach it to others? Becoming a clinical instructor or dental hygiene educator can be a rewarding career path, especially for those whom enjoy inspiring others. Most dental hygiene schools will require a bachelor’s degree from an accredited school. Some may even require a master’s degree, in order to teach related dental and science classes. You may want to check your chosen institution for their specific requirements and teaching opportunities.

Dental Hygiene Forensics

Dental forensics is a very specialized branch of the dental hygiene field. It involves working directly with law enforcement and helping establish ones identity through dental evidence. The job of the dental hygienist is to assist the forensic dentist in identifying remains through radiographs, pictures and specialized charting. This particular field requires extra education, whether it be taking specialized classes or getting a dental forensics degree. To establish your local educational requirements, contact your local law enforcement or the coroner’s office for more specific details.