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Dental Hygienist Jobs

Dental hygienists differ from dental assistants, as they are actually responsible for providing some dental care and treatment to patients. Hygienists in most practices are responsible for cleaning a patient's teeth, removing plaque and buildup, applying materials such as fluoride and sealants to prevent teeth from decaying, taking and processing x-rays, educating patients on proper teeth care, and in some cases administering anesthetics for individuals facing root canals, bridges, and cavity fillings.

Training - Most dental hygienists participate in a two-year program that provides them with an associate degree. However, some choose to advance to receive their bachelor's or master's degree in dental hygiene. After completing their education, dental hygienists become licensed by the state in which they are employed. Eligibility for a license is dependent upon completion of an educational program and a passing score on the licensure exam.

Opportunities - The majority of dental hygienists work in dental practices, although options for work outside these practices are greater than for dental assistants. Hygienists can also be found in hospitals, nursing homes, schools, and public health clinics.

Pay - The average pay for a dental hygienist is $30 per hour, although it can range from $18 to over $40.

Job Outlook - The job outlook for dental hygienists is very good, as demand is very high, especially in certain parts of the United States were shortages are occurring. The increase in demand for hygienists is due to the advances in dental care, which has allowed more individuals to retain their teeth. Therefore, there is more of a demand for regular cleaning of teeth by hygienists.

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