Work Activities/Work Locations
- Dental Hygienists work with Dentists as they examine and treat patients. They also provide educational, clinical, and therapeutic services. They perform a complete oral prophylaxis, which may include deep periodontal scaling and root debridement as well as polishing of natural and restored tooth surfaces. Records and updates medical and dental histories and does dental charting. Tasks may also include applying fluoride, performing x-rays, and examining gums for disease. They can also administer local anesthetics.
- Educate patients regarding oral hygiene and preventive oral care.
- Hygienists may not diagnose diseases, but they can prepare clinical and laboratory diagnostic tests for the Dentist to interpret and can administer prescribed preventative agents.
- Hygienists may also work chair-side with the Dentist during treatment.
- Most Dental Hygienists work with Dentists in general or specialized dental offices, either for individual Dentists or for groups of Dentists. They are also employed at public health departments, hospitals, nursing homes, private business, correctional facilities or the military. They may also teach oral hygiene for educational programs, community groups, or at schools.
Advantages and Disadvantages
- Dental Hygienists enjoy teaching people how to take care of their teeth.
- They sometimes do not like to do the same things day after day