dcsimg

Career Story: Dental Hygienist

Dental Hygienist

Job Title: Dental Hygienist

Education: Associate of Science in Dental Hygiene, Miami Dade Community College

Previous Experience: I worked as a Dental Assistant prior to going to school.

Job Tasks: I received my Dental Hygiene degree from a two year program (Associate of Science). I passed the national exam and each of the states I have practiced in requires a state exam. To keep the license current, each year we are required to keep up to date with continuing education credits. Most programs are now four year degrees (Bachelor of Science).

As a Dental Hygienist, I was responsible for cleaning teeth, patient education, a soft tissue exam to look for oral cancer and taking x-rays. I would usually see approximately eight patients per day. But if a patient had an involved case and needed a longer appointment time, the numbers would flucuate and I would see less per day.

A typical appoinment time is 45 minutes which starts with the soft tissue exam, checking for cavities, taking routine x-rays, scaling (cleaning) the tooth surfaces, polishing the tooth surfaces, reviewing home care and then the dentist would come in for his or her exam. Each patient has a chart that needs to be filled out per visit, that could take between 2 and 10 minutes depending on the the findings that day.

If there was a break between patients I would work in the front office scheduling appointments, filing patient charts, filling out insurance forms, or answering the phones. I could also help in the lab with cleaning and developing x-rays.

Travel would be involved if the necessary licensing continuation requirements were out of town. Usually classes were available within a short drive and many are now available online.

Best and Worst Parts of the Job: The best part of being a dental hygienist was the satisfation I received from helping a patient learn to take care of their mouth and have great home care. The fact that patients come in every 6 months, keeping good records I was able to monitor their improvements. It gave me great joy to be able to show someone that they had maintained a healthy mouth.

The worse part would be the fact that not everyone would take care of their mouths between check-ups and I would have to point out poor oral hygiene and unhealthy tissues.

I was sorry that I had not gotten my four year degree so that I could teach Dental Hygiene.

Job Tips:
1. Experiment with the dental field prior to committing to school, it could be as an assistant with on the job training, front office help or ask your dentist is you could just be an observer.

2. Know ahead of time the amount of science classes involved with the degree.

3. Defintely get the four year degree!

Additional Thoughts: Dental Hygiene is a well paying career for someone with "people skills" that enjoys helping others.

Popular Schools offering Dental Hygiene Programs

quickinfoThese schools offer particularly quick info upon request, and we have written detailed profiles for each (click school names to see the profiles).

Request info from multiple schools, by clicking the Request Info links.

Matching School Ads

Advance your career. 100% Focused on Health Sciences.

  • Programs: Bachelor Degree in Dental Hygiene
  • Degrees: Bachelor
Unitek College
Concord, San Jose

Unitek College™ is a privately held vocational school dedicated to helping you gain the skills needed to advance your career or begin a brand new career. 

  • Programs: Dental Assisting
  • Degrees: Certificate
UEI College
Anaheim, Bakersfield, El Monte, Encino, Fresno, Gardena, Huntington Park, Ontario, Riverside, San Marcos, Stockton

At UEI College, we want you to succeed. We’re like a family and we want you to be a part of it.

  • Programs: Dental Assistant (8-Month Diploma Program)
  • Degrees: Diploma

Get the hands-on training you need to succeed at Blake Austin College.

  • Programs: Dental Assisting
  • Degrees: Certificate
Intercoast Colleges
Rancho Cordova, Riverside

Get your career started with Intercoast Colleges.

  • Programs: Dental Assistant
  • Degrees: Certificate
Milan Institute
Merced, Palm Desert, Visalia

Prepare for an exciting new career at the Milan Institute.

  • Programs: Dental Assistant, Registered Dental Assistant
  • Degrees: Diploma
Brightwood College
Bakersfield, Clovis, Riverside, Sacramento, San Diego, Vista

About Brightwood College

Brightwood College offers accelerated programs that combine flexible schedules and professional instruction to create a rewarding learning experience for individuals focused on gaining the skills for specific careers. Brightwood College is owned and operated by Education Corporation of America.

  • Programs: Dental Assistant
  • Degrees: Diploma
San Joaquin Valley College
Bakersfield, Temecula, Visalia

San Joaquin Valley College - A Private Junior College.

  • Programs: Certificate - Dental Assistant
  • Degrees: Certificate
Matching School Ads

Additional Career Stories for Dental Hygienists

The inside stories from people actually working in the field.
Click a story title to show the story, and click the title again to hide it.

All Types

You are visiting:

Find a school near you

What are Career Stories?

Career Stories are concise, real-world career overviews written by people relating their personal career experiences and wisdom. They provide invaluable insights and mentoring advice to students and career changers.

Most stories include:

  • a typical day or project
  • tips and advice
  • best and worst parts
  • educational background
  • previous experience

Browse hundreds of Career Stories

More Details On This Career

Please also see our detailed information about Dental Hygienists, including:

Back to Top
SPEAK TO AN ADVISOR 1.844.285.6104