What You Need to Know About Being a Dental Hygienist

Dental hygienists are certified healthcare professionals that provide patients with preventive, educational, and therapeutic dental health treatments. They concentrate on preventing and treating dental disorders to promote oral health and assist the patient’s overall health. While there are plenty of dental hygienist opportunities, they still need to be licensed in each state where they practice, and the standards for licensure can differ by state.

If you want to learn where you can work after getting your license, here’s a guide to help you understand more about this profession.

Dental hygienist opportunities

Your Career as a Dental Hygienist

Where to Start?

The candidates must graduate from a recognized dental hygiene program, pass a national written board examination, and pass a state or regional clinical board examination in most states. The RDH credential denotes that the dental hygienist is licensed to practice.


You must enroll in a course approved by the General Dental Council (GDC) and register with the GDC to practice as a dental hygienist. Courses that combine dental hygiene and dental therapy are available at several dental schools. You can qualify for at least $5,000 a year to help with your university tuition if you take a dental hygiene program at level 5 or 6.

Study topics include:

  • Proactive dental care  
  • Oral health care   
  • Dental pathology   
  • Patient care and management  
  • Physiology and anatomy  

What Services Can They Perform?

Most dental hygienists conduct oral health assessments, expose, process, and interpret dental radiographs (x-rays), remove plaque and teach patients proper oral hygiene techniques. The scope of practice for dental hygienists differs by state. Dental hygienists can offer local anesthetic and nitrous oxide-oxygen sedation in some jurisdictions, prescribe fluoride and antibacterial treatments, put interim restorations, and place permanent restorations.

Where Can They Work?

Clinical dental hygienists offer direct patient care in various healthcare settings, such as private dental offices, managed care organizations, schools, public health clinics, hospitals, and long-term care institutions. Additional job choices for dental hygienists with a bachelor’s or master’s degree include teaching dental assisting, dental hygiene, and dentistry students in colleges and universities. They can also manage dental practices, healthcare facilities, and dental market supplies, products, and equipment.

What Does a Dental Hygienist’s Normal Day Look Like?

Due to their direct contact with patients’ mouths, dental hygienists may be exposed to diseases that are spread through saliva, blood, or other bodily fluids. Dental hygienists take the usual precautions to protect themselves and their patients from infectious diseases, such as donning gloves, face masks, and safety glasses.

Dental hygienists follow protocols when taking dental x-rays to limit radiation exposure for themselves and their patients. They’re prepared to handle any medical crises in a dental office.

Dental hygienist opportunities

Are You Looking for Dental Hygienist Opportunities?

At Arthur Marshall, our team can help you find the best position for your skills. Since a dental hygienist is one of the fastest-growing medical assistant positions, your recruitment process will be quick and easy. Contact our team to start your search!

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