Dental Hygienists

Dental hygienists perform clinical tasks, serve as oral health educators in private dental offices, work in public health agencies, and promote good oral health by educating adults and children. Their main responsibility is to perform oral prophylaxis, a process of cleaning teeth by using sharp dental instruments, such as scalers and prophy angles. With these instruments, they remove stains and calcium deposits, polish teeth, and massage gums. There are approximately 192,330 dental hygienists employed in the United States.

Quick Facts
Duties Clean teeth with special instruments; provide dental counseling to patients; maintain a pleasant health care environment for dental patients
Alternate Title(s) None
Salary Range $25,000 to $100,000
Employment Prospects Excellent
Advancement Prospects Good
Work Environment Primarily Indoors
Best Geographical Location(s) Nationwide
Education and Training
  • Associate's Degree
Related School Subjects
  • Biology
  • English
  • Health
Experience Prior experience operating dental equipment and working with patients
  • Interpersonal
  • Mechanical/Manual Dexterity
  • Scientific
Personality Traits
  • Conventional
  • Helpful
  • Technical
Licensure/Certification Required
Special Requirements None
Career Ladder
  • Director, Dental Health Care Program
  • Professor, Dental Hygiene
  • Dental Hygienist

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