Dental HygienistJob Description, Salary, Career Path, and Trends
Dental hygienists perform various duties in a dentist’s office for patients to achieve and maintain good oral health. They typically conduct initial screenings, take patient X-rays, clean teeth, take note of any issues or potential issues, and educate patients on proper teeth care. Some dental hygienists also assist dentists with dental emergencies. A dental hygienist must have good people skills and the ability to build trust with patients. They need an in-depth knowledge of health and safety rules and regulations and a trained eye to spot oral diseases and anomalies. Dental hygienists also maintain documentation and charts on each patient.
Patience and a friendly disposition are requirements for a dental hygienist. They must have good attention to detail and empathy as many patients are frightened or anxious when they go to the dentist’s office. A dental hygienist needs to have good problem-solving skills and should be a critical thinker. They should be able to stay calm in the event of an emergency or an unexpected situation.
Sample job description #1
Our practice is seeking a highly-skilled Registered Dental Hygienist to deliver exceptional clinical care. Our hygienists provide patients with the best education and support for the upkeep of their oral health. The ideal candidate is self-motivated and eager to grow their skillset through the mentorship of our Dentists. Our practice includes an all-inclusive clinical team that provides specialty care.
Strive to provide the best patient experience
Assist with documentation and the upkeep of records
Listen, empathize and address all patient concerns
Provide clear communication and education on treatment plans and maintaining oral health.
Oversee operatory set-up and clean-up, including sterilization process.
Support office manager with company initiatives such as Adit, Recallmax, Aging, and Abella
State licensure and certification in dental hygiene
CRP Certification – Radiography/x-ray certification per state guidelines
Well versed in dental terminology and procedures
Maintains a positive, collaborative, and supportive disposition with team and patients
Maintain compliance with state dental practice requirements (i.e., X-ray requirements, OSHA, and CE training).
Understands and complies with HIPAA and HITECH Act of 2009
Dental hygienists receive
Clinical hours that support work-life balance
Mentoring by top-rated, experienced clinicians
Continuing Education opportunities and seminars
Comprehensive support team
Eligibility for benefits including Medical, Dental, Flexible Spending Account, & 401(K) Plan
Sample job description #2
The Dental Hygienist provides patient education, intra-oral and extra-oral screenings of every patient seen, prophylaxis cleaning and polishing of the teeth, and Root Scaling and Planning for periodontal disease per practice protocols and as directed by the dentist. This person will support the mission, vision, values, and will adhere to compliance protocols as well as the policies and procedures.
Dental hygienist essential duties and responsibilities:
Greet and welcome all assigned patients
Conduct a medical and dental history with every patient contacting outside physicians when appropriate prior to care
Complete a thorough intra and extra oral exam for all patients
Take dental radiographs when appropriate
Provide prophylaxis cleaning and polishing of teeth
Provide root scaling and planning of teeth
Provide appropriate patient education as needed example: periodontal disease
Confer with treating dentist on all patients seen
Make necessary referrals to specialists where appropriate based upon practice guidelines
Document all patient activity in the patient chart
Sets up and breaks down treatment room between patients
Performs any lab tasks pertinent to role as assigned by the clinical manager and/or dentist
Follows all safety protocols
Other duties as assigned
Admin and reception duties
Answers phones as needed
Schedules new and established patent appointments as needed
In instances where a late emergency arrives, support the Dental Center Practice Manager or in his/her absence, the dentist on duty by supporting the care team where appropriate with service through patient’s final discharge
Observe and cooperate with the security of the Dental center at all time
Attention to Detail
Essential skills and qualifications:
To perform this job successfully, an individual must be able to perform each essential duty satisfactorily. The requirements listed below are representative of the knowledge, skill, and/or ability required. Reasonable accommodations may be made to enable individuals with disabilities to perform the essential functions.
Must have graduated with Associates in Dental Hygiene from an accredited school
Must have a valid Massachusetts license to practice as a Dental Hygienist
Maintain a current CPR license
Attend continuing education meetings at the dental center when scheduled
Be efficient and proficient in Dentrix and any other software required at the Dental Center
Sample job description #3
Currently seeking a new, licensed Dental Hygienist for a great opportunity. Under the general supervision of a Dentist, the Dental Hygienist will be responsible for delivering direct dental care and associated services to patients as well as providing general support to the office.
Assist with basic procedures, including scaling and prophylaxis, x-rays, application of sealants & fluoride, etc.
Provide excellent customer service by looking for opportunities to offer same day care
Educate patients and parents in oral hygiene instruction
Assess the dental condition and needs of patients and review patient’s medical history
Guide parents and patients through our entire treatment process
Assist with dental and periodontics charting, when necessary
Take x-rays and save into patient charts, when necessary
Perform other duties, as needed
Bachelor’s Degree (New graduates are encouraged to apply!)
Current licensure as a Dental Hygienist in good standing
Great interpersonal skills
Excellent communication skills (written and verbal)
Strong attention to detail
1+ year of experience practicing Dental Hygiene with Adults and Children
Average salary and compensation
The average salary for a dental hygienist is $72,450 per year in the United States. Salary will vary based on experience, education, and geographical location.
Los Angeles, California
Minneapolis-St. Paul, Minnesota
New York City, New York
Sample interview questions
What interests you about being a dental hygienist in our dental office?
What do you know about our dental office and dentists?
What measures do you take to stay updated on dental technology and practices?
What dental tools do you use on a daily basis?
How quickly can you learn to use a new tool?
How comfortable are you with conducting patient exams to learn more about the patient’s oral health?
How many years of experience do you have as a dental hygienist?
Describe a time you received negative criticism from a patient. How did you handle it?
Describe a time you received constructive criticism from your supervisor. Why was it helpful?
Describe a time you improved processes or workflow in a dental office.
Have you worked with dental assistants before? How did that go?
Describe one of your most satisfying moments of being a dental hygienist. How do you define success with each patient?
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