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Dental Hygienist

Career Highlights

  • Teach Clients How To Prevent Tooth Decay
  • Assist Dentists
  • Public Dental Health Education

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Career Summary

Dental hygienists teach clients how to prevent tooth decay and gum disease. Dental hygienists are a very important part of dental care. Working under the general supervision of a dentist, they take X-rays and make plaster molds of patients' teeth.

When x-rays need updating, or when there are new patients, hygienists take x-rays. They also develop film for dentists to use as they diagnose problems and plan treatments.

Dental hygienists not only clean and remove plaque and stains from teeth, but they also do many other tasks related to dental health and hygiene. They inspect patients' teeth for any shrinkage or disease in the gums. They look to see if the gums and lymph nodes under the chin show any swelling or other signs of cancer.

Part of the dental service preparation may include applying numbing agents to a patient's gums. They do this so the dentist may administer an injection with the least amount of discomfort to the client. Finally, dental hygienists perform finish work on certain procedures such as removing excess cement from tooth surfaces or polishing fillings.

Some dental hygienists go to public schools to teach dental health education for school children or meet with other members of the community for similar seminars / public speaking.




Requires a degree in:

  • Dental Hygienist
  • Dental Training
  • Dental Assistant

Career Skills

  • Conducts dental health clinics for community groups
  • Knowledge of dental injuries, illnesses, and defects
  • Examines gums for signs of gum disease
  • Exposes and develops x-ray film
  • Makes teeth impressions for study casts

Additional Information



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*Salary ranges based on location, experience, and demand. This number represents a rough nation-wide average.