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Tell Me More About Dental Hygiene

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

The responsibilities of a dental hygienist include the assessment, development, planning, implementation, and evaluation of a dental hygiene care plan that is based on the needs of the patient. Clinical services can include: evaluating medical and dental health histories; examining, assessing, and documenting intra- and extra-oral conditions; expose and interpret dental radiographs; removal of biofilm, stain, and calculus on the teeth; application of caries-preventive agents such as fluorides and pit and fissure sealants; administration of local anesthesia and nitrous oxide analgesia; provide oral hygiene instructions; 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: , 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.

Employment Prospects/Salaries

According to the U.S Bureau of Labor Statistics, the dental hygiene profession is expected to grow 9% from 2021-2031. There is an average of 16,300 job openings a year. Dental hygienists averaged about $37.00 per hour in private practice employment settings. Dental hygienists who work for school systems, public health agencies, the Federal Government, or State agencies usually have substantial benefits.

Associate Degree Program Admission Criteria

Two to three semesters of college level prerequisites are required before entering the program’s two-year professional sequence. Satisfactory completion of the dental hygiene curriculum is required in order to be approved to take the National Board Dental Hygiene Exam, the CDCA ADEX Clinical Exam, Michigan’s Ethics and Jurisprudence Exam, Michigan’s Local Anesthesia Exam, and Michigan’s Nitrous Oxide Exam, which are all necessary for the state licensure.

Students will have training in both classroom instruction and clinical practice. Including developing practical skills in the College’s 50-seat Dental Hygiene Clinic with patients from the University, community, and local schools. As well as in off-site enrichment and community dentistry rotation sites.