Dental Hygienist

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Dental hygienists are preventive oral health professionals who have graduated from an accredited dental hygiene program in an institution of higher education, licensed in dental hygiene to provide educational, clinical, research, administrative, and therapeutic services supporting total health through the promotion of optimum oral health.

In performing the dental hygiene process of care, the dental hygienist assesses the patient’s oral tissues and overall health determining the presence or absence of disease, other abnormalities and disease risks; develops a dental hygiene diagnosis based on clinical findings; formulates evidence-based, patient-centered treatment care plans; performs the clinical procedures outlined in the treatment care plan; educates patients regarding oral hygiene and preventive oral care; and evaluates the outcomes of educational strategies and clinical procedures provided.

Clinical procedures provided typically include removal of plaque, calculus, and stains from the teeth, exposing and processing dental X-rays, applying cavity-preventive agents, such as fluorides and pit and fissure sealants, and administering antimicrobial agents. In some states, they also administer local anesthetics and nitrous oxide; place and carve filling materials, temporary fillings, and periodontal dressings; remove sutures; perform root-planing as a periodontal therapy; and smooth and polish restorations. In addition, they can provide clinical and laboratory diagnostic tests for interpretation by other health professionals.

Career Outlook: 
Career Outlook data is specific to New Hampshire State.
Number of Jobs 2010: 
1,172
Number of Projected Jobs 2020: 
1,483
Jobs Percentage Change: 
26.5%
Total Annual Openings: 
55
Growth Outlook: 
Very Favorable
June 2013 Entry Level Wage: 
$32.62
June 2013 Mean Wage: 
$37.49
June 2013 Experienced Wage: 
$39.93
Salary Range: 
$60,000 - $80,000
Education Requirements: 
Programs: 
Time to Complete: 
2 years (at least)

Education Levels:

School Type: 
New Hampshire Community College

Education Levels:

License and Certification Requirements: 
Coding Certification Required: 
No
Coding License Required: 
Yes
License Required: 
Yes
License Requirements: 
To be licensed you must be at least 18 years of age or older, a high school graduate and complete an educational specialty program of at least 2 years that is recognized by the American Dental Association Commission of Accreditation of Dental and Dental Auxiliary Educational Programs. You must also pass national and regional examinations acceptable to the Board.
Career Categories: 

Types of Work:

Workplace Environment: 
Private Medical Practice or Private Company
Types of Interaction: 
Direct Patient Interaction