Dental Hygienist Career in 2021: Career Path, Skills, Salary

Dental hygienist career focuses on providing dental health care to the patient. They in general clean the teeth of the patient.

They examine a patient’s condition and offer a genuine and preventive measure to maintain the patient’s oral health.

The main role of a dental hygienist is during periodontal disease, also known as gum disease. When a patient suffers from gum this, a dental hygienist plays an important role in providing dental care.

Periodontal therapy includes periodontal charting, prophylaxis, periodontal debridement, and periodontal maintaining procedure for patients with periodontal disease.

The main objective is to make patients control oral diseases by using therapy methods. A dental hygienist also does the job of screening and preventing oral cancer.

Dental hygienists apart from treating patient’s teeth also apply dental sealants, administer topical fluoride, and provide them with oral hygiene education.

Some dental hygienists have permission and are trained to perform dental radiography and local anesthesia. Dental hygienists work in varieties of dental settings ranging from private to public sector and clinics.

 These people collaborate with dentists, dental assistants, and other dental professionals. They all work together in a dental or clinical setting.

Dental hygienist work to meet the needs and requirements of the patient, in general. They are expertise of their field in order to provide best preventive measures to the patient.

They usually work for eight hours straight. One patient may take up-to one hour to be treated. However, some of them choose to work three to four days in a week. A dental hygienist may work in more than one dental office.

What Career Path Does Dental Hygienist Career Follow?

The career of a dental health care provider goes from a dental assistant (beginner) to a dentist. Below is in detail insight of the same.

Dental assistant:

Entry level dental assistants earn $12 hourly. They are the assets of dental offices, laboratory and dental work areas.

Certified dental assistant:

One year of experience is required to be a certified dental assistant. They have number of duties and responsibilities to perform in dental offices.

Expanded function dental assistant:

EFDS is a licence by the state to place sealants and different types of fillings. This is considered as the highest level of employment for dental assisting.

Dental assistant instructor:

An instructor educates students on dental work areas. A dental assistant instructor teaches students on topics such as radiology, names and uses of dental tools, patient interaction, dental record keeping and hands on instruction.

Dental office business team administrator:

Dental administrators work include scheduling patient’s appointments, finances, meetings and record keeping. They track patients’ payments and check on insurance claims. 

Dental sales representative:

Dental representative does the job of providing instruments, supplies and technology to dental offices. They work with the dental team effectively in order to meet their dental requirements.

Dental hygienist:

Dental hygienists work includes examining the patient’s teeth and cleaning process. They examine patient’s teeth using x-ray machines and jaws. They use modes to educate patients about oral hygiene.

Dental consultant:

Dental consultant analyses the dental practice. They help in improving the dental practice. Later on dental consultants train and educate doctors and staff on systems that add value to the practice.


Dentists do the job of diagnosing and treating patient’s teeth. They provide proper dental care through the dental procedure. Dentists provide patients with instruction on diet, brushing, flossing, and other aspects of dental care. They also prescribe medicines to the patient.

Well, there are five to six professions before you become a dental hygienist. If dental hygienists wish to study more and gain more experience, they may have the opportunity to be a dentist.

Duties And Responsibilities of Dental Hygienists:

  • Providing best measures to control oral health
  • Wearing gloves while performing procedures
  • Educating patients regarding oral health
  • Creating plans to help patients take care of dental health
  • Cleaning patient’s teeth
  • Screening and preventing oral cancer
  • Collaborating with dentists and other dental professions
  • Working in a dental care setting
  • Educating themselves on the needs and requirements of a patient
  • Remove stain, plaque, and tartar from teeth
  • Taking dental x-rays
  • Examining patients dental health
  • Administer local anesthetics
  • Advising on regular brushing including how, when and why is it important.

Skills Required In Dental Hygienist Career:

  • Devotion: All the people working in a dental care department need to be devoted to help people. Their dedication towards health brings the encouragement in life.
  • Skills of using equipments on people.
  • Gaining their trust in the procedure.
  • Communicating effectively in order to maintain the relationship with the patient
  • Skill of educating patients right regarding dental care
  • Examining patients carefully in order to provide the best preventive measure
  • Patience is needed to work throughout the day. Dental hygienists spend quite a long at work. They need to be energetic all throughout the day.

How to become dental hygienist?

  • A bachelor’s or a certification from a dental hygiene school is a must.
  • A Master’s degree is an option for advanced education.
  • American dental association offers dental programs such as dental laboratory technology, pediatric dentistry, orofacial pain, PREDOC, etc.
  • Need to have a license from the dental board in your state or the state you are going to practice dental hygiene.
  • Need to pass the dental plus clinical exam after your graduation.

Scope And Salary of A Dental Hygienist:

As per the bureau of labor statistics the employment growth is said to increase by 20% between the years 2016 to 2026. However, the demand may increase as per the requirement of treating oral hygiene. 40,900 dental hygienists occupy the job of a dental hygienist. The unemployment rate is 0.4%.

An average dental hygienist is paid $39k whereas the median $58k and highest-paid is $78k. (PayScale) However, the salary depends on the years of experience and education.

A dental hygienist earns $25 to $48 hourly. They are probably in huge demand. Their preventive measures help everybody learn oral health. If you are looking forward to becoming a dental hygienist, I must say you will have a great career ahead. It is the most valued and in-demand career. You may take the required education and move ahead with it.