Ask a dental hygienist


Dental hygienists are health professionals who specializes in preventive dental care focusing usually on dental hygiene. To become a dental hygienist requires formal education, usually consisting of 2 years of schooling after science and general education prerequisites. Usual courses are anatomy, oral anatomy, materials science, pharmacology and other college level medicine related classes. A degree from an accredited dental hygiene school is required to become a dental hygienist.

Work that hygienists perform is determined by local dental regulations, in most areas hygienists work with licensed dentist. Dental hygienists are trained to perform cleaning, bleaching, scaling, root planning, and often dental sealing. In some areas, hygienists are allowed to perform these duties without dentist's supervision.

Most dental hygienists usually work in private dental offices and community health centers, some however also work at insurance companies, dental supply stores and other health related businesses.

Registered dental hygienist is a hot in demand career. With aging of the population this demand will continue to grow, and so job prospects for the next 10 years are very favorable. According to department of labor, "employment of dental hygienists is expected to grow 30 percent through 2016" and "job prospects are expected to remain excellent". Eye specialists offer similar growth, but the education required to become a optometrist's assistant is more rigorous and the job usually pays lower.