What You Should Know
- Dental hygiene will continue to grow based on dental care needs of the public.
- Job opportunities continue to be good.
- Part-time work and flexible schedules are common.
What Dental Hygienists Do
Dental hygienists are professionals, licensed by the state in which they practice in, who complete extensive educational and clinical preparation in preventive oral health care. A dental hygienist is a clinician, oral health care educator, health promoter, consumer advocate,administrator, and researcher.
The responsibilities of a dental hygienist include the development, implementation, and evaluation of a dental hygiene plan of care that is based on the needs of the patient. Clinical services can include: evaluate and monitor medical and dental health histories, examining,assessing, and documenting oral conditions including the head and neck, expose, process, and interpret x-rays, administration of local anesthesia and nitrous oxide analgesia, removal of calculus and stain that form on the teeth, application of caries-preventive agents such as fluorides and pit and fissure sealants, administer local and nitrous oxide anesthetics, provide dietary education and counseling, and design and implement community or school oral health programs.
Health Care Workers' Exposure Risks
Interested students are encouraged to visit the Organization for Safety and Asepsis Procedures website: www.osap.org , click on Resources, and then scroll down to infection control guidelines. This site is modified regularly and the prospective student will have the most up-to-date information on occupational exposure risks in the dental field.
Workers in other occupations supporting health practitioners in an office setting include dental assistants, ophthalmic medical assistants, podiatric medical assistants, office nurses, medical assistants, physician assistants, physical therapy assistants, and occupational therapy assistants
Completion of the three year Associate s degree, final written and clinical exams enables the graduate to sit for the state licensure exam. Student clinical experiences occur within the college as the students work with patients from the University, community, and local schools in the College s 30-seat Dental Hygiene Clinic.