Dental Hygienists work with dentists to make sure that not only are patient???s teeth repaired, but that they remain as healthy as possible for as long as possible. They do this by teaching patients how to practice good oral hygiene, removing deposits from teeth and applying cavity preventative agents. They can also in some States do some of the more simple procedures that dentists do such as temporary fillings and dressings.
Dental hygienists have to undergo a licensing procedure in order to be able to practice. They have to have either a two year or a four year degree from an accredited dental hygiene school, and then pass written and clinical examinations. For some situations, such as working in research or in laboratory work, it may be necessary for applicants to have a Masters degree.
There is an increasing demand for dental work, and as the dental hygienist increasingly substitutes for the dentist in the more routine tasks of dental care, this is likely to speed up during the next ten years. At the moment the pool of qualified dental hygienists is relatively small, so job prospects are very good for well qualified people.
Earnings reflect this shortage of well qualified dental hygienists, with a median salaries of around $51,000 according to the US Department of Labor, and for some of the better paid people earnings can be as high as $74,000.
Directory of Dental Hygienist Schools