Dental Hygienists are licensed healthcare professionals, oral health educators and clinicians who, as co-therapists with the dentist, provide preventive, educational and therapeutic services supporting total health for the control of oral diseases and the promotion of oral health.
As a dental hygienist, you will participate in assessing a patient's overall oral health and educating the patient regarding their oral hygiene and preventive oral care.
Dental hygienists provide clinical services in a variety of settings such as private dental practices, community health settings, nursing homes, hospitals, schools, faculty practice clinics, state and federal government facilities and Indian reservations. In addition to clinical practice, there are career opportunities in education, research, sales and marketing, public health, administration and government. Some hygienists combine positions in different settings and career paths for professional variety. Working in education and clinical practice in an example. Flexible work hours are also a benefit of this profession, with some hygienists working full-time and other part-time.
The U.S. Department of Labor's Bureau of Labor Statistics has projected employment prospects for dental hygienists to remain excellent, with the dental hygiene profession expected to remain one of the fastest growing occupations. According to their website, the 2021 median hourly wage was $38.17 nationally, resulting in a $83,290 mean annual wage. There is also considerable freedom for dental hygienists to select work days and hours, which is an incentive for many individuals choosing this career.