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Dental Hygienist

Dental hygienists typically do the following:
  • Remove tartar, stains, and plaque from teeth
  • Apply sealants and fluorides to help protect teeth
  • Take and develop dental x rays
  • Keep track of patient care and treatment plans
  • Teach patients oral hygiene, such as how to brush and floss correctly
  
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Minimum Education Required for this Career

Basic Certificate
Advanced Certificate
Associate's Degree
4+ year Degree
Associate's Degree
$45,000

City Colleges Program Options

Nature of the Work

Dental hygienists use many types of tools to do their job. They clean and polish teeth with both hand and powered tools, as well as ultrasonic devices. In some cases, they remove stains with an air polishing device, which sprays a combination of air, water, and baking soda. They polish teeth with a powered tool that works like an automatic toothbrush. Hygienists use x-ray machines to take pictures to check for tooth or jaw problems.

Training, Other Qualifications, and Advancement

Dental hygienists typically need an associate’s degree in dental hygiene to enter the occupation. Certificates, bachelor's degrees, and master's degrees in dental hygiene are also available but are less common among dental hygienists. Private dental offices usually require a minimum of an associate’s degree or certificate in dental hygiene. A bachelor's or master's degree is usually required for research, teaching, or clinical practice in public or school health programs.

Future Trends

Demand for dental services follows the trends in the economy because the patient or private insurance companies pay for these services. Employment of dental hygienists is expected to grow by 38 percent from 2010 to 2020, much faster than the average for all occupations.​

Career Pathways

Success at City Colleges