A dental hygienist is also known as an oral health practitioner. He is a part of the whole dental team and is a professional related to dental care. The main job of a dentist is to treat the patient’s gums and tooth related problems while a dental hygienist plays a very important role in preventing such problems from occurring.
Duties of a dental hygienist include polishing and scaling the patient’s teeth, applying fluoride and sealants, conducting assessments on their patients and doing oral inspections. In order to become a dental hygienist, you should follow certain tips and guidelines which will give you a complete job description along with a basic understanding of all that is required in this field.
Ways To Become A Dental Hygienist
A dental hygienist must have a bachelor’s degree in science with an in-depth knowledge of biology, chemistry and mathematics. An associate’s or master’s degree along with it would prove to be extremely beneficial though it is not compulsory.
Many states require that you should have passed the written and practical examinations before you actually start working in the specific state.
You may only appear for the examination after you have passed you dental hygienist program or course. Some states also hold examinations related to the legal aspects in this field and these should be passed as well.
Observe Dental Hygienist at Work
From the time you decide what career you wish to pursue and what your special skills are, you are sure to visit your local dentist at some point of time or the other. It will be of great help if you observe a dental hygienist at work and ask him to take some time out to explain you the job profile in detail.
Many dental hygiene diploma courses and certificate programs send their students to get proper training in hospitals, dental care centers or even individual dentists. When getting trained, you will be required to interact with patients, do simple jobs like cleaning and polishing the teeth, handle dental care equipments and assist the dentist in every possible way.
Getting a license to work as a qualified dental hygienist is one of the most important criteria’s that must be fulfilled by you before you actually start working for a dentist, hospital or dental care center as many such institutions refuse to hire those individuals who are not licensed.
After having passed all the required examinations and attained the license and certificates, you should try to work under a dentist to get some experience as a dental hygienist.
You may also work in a hospital or medical center to gain experience as many such institutions wish to hire individuals who can work on a minimum salary and give in long hours of work as freshers.
You must possess decision-making and critical thinking skills and be able to communicate with patients in a calm and polite manner. You should also be aware of computer software programs which help in dental-billing and charting. Technical skills like using an x-ray machine for teeth, mouth cleaning and related equipments should also be known to you.