Job Title: Dental Hygiene
Type of Company: I work for a general dental office, helping people learn better oral health.
Education: AS Accounting, New England Community College AS, Hygiene, Middlesex Community College (Middletown, CT) BS, Accounting, Merrimack College (North Andover, MA)
Previous Experience: I started as an accountant, in cash management at Marshall's corporate office. When Marshall's was absorbed by TJ Maxx, I was ready for a change and accepted a job as a dental assistant/front desk employee at a dental office. After a few years I decided to go back to school to become a dental hygienist.
Job Tasks: My job responsibilities include promoting oral health and informing patients of their dental options. By promoting dental health I inform patients how to maintain or achieve optimum home care. I have also visited schools and nursing homes and completed a survey of the need for services at those sites. I have helping those patients gain access to care. While visiting a site or meeting with a patient in the office, I may discuss electric tooth brushes, water picks, interdental tooth brushes, brushing and flossing techniques. The options worth discussing depend on the patient and the state of his teeth. If a patient needs a tooth extracted and the tooth needs replacement, I would inform the patient of adverse affects if the patient chooses not to replace the tooth and other options available such as a partial denture, a flipper, or an implant. It is important for every patient to know all options for treatment, so the patient can choose the treatment plan they are willing to follow.
Best and Worst Parts of the Job: The best parts of the job include having a patient ready to learn home care. Sometimes a patient comes into the office very tense. It is nice to have the ability to gain a patient's trust. If the patient has avoided dental care because they are frightened and have never been taught how to take care of their teeth. I love the light bulb moment patients have when they finally understand how to improve home care.
The worst part of the job is dealing with a patient whose mother made him come to the dentist. A patient who doesn't want to be there and doesn't want to improve his dental (and overall) health is a source of frustration to me.
Job Tips: In order to get a dental hygiene license you need a two year degree. But this is a minimum requirement and I would suggest a three or four year degree program. The two year program is doable but intense. Some schools also offer a health careers program. The health careers program helps you to learn current medical terminology prior to entering the medical program of your choice. I entered hygiene school with all of my non-hygiene courses already completed and work related experience, and this really helped with balancing home life with a child and husband and school life.
These 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.
American Career College (ACC) offers hands-on training that will prepare students for careers in the healthcare industry at three campuses in Los Angeles, Ontario, and Orange County, California.
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.
Get the hands-on training you need to succeed at Blake Austin College.
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.
Get your career started with Intercoast Colleges.
At UEI College, we want you to succeed. We’re like a family and we want you to be a part of it.
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.
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:
Please also see our detailed information about Dental Hygienists, including: