Dental hygienists perform a surprising amount of duties that you might not even think of if you’re looking at the job title alone. There are quite a lot of factors that play in to what dental hygienist jobs may be assigned for the day, but most of these vary by state. Just what does the typical day in a dental hygienist’s work like look like? Here are just some of the jobs that a dental hygienist will perform in a given work day:
This is, of course, the core of a dental hygienist’s job. The dental hygienist will perform routine dental cleanings on patients, which includes cleaning both the teeth and the gums.
During the cleanings, usually, the hygienist will also perform an examination of the patient’s teeth and gums. While a dental hygienist is not qualified to make any diagnoses, they will be able to alert the dentist as to abnormalities in the patient’s mouth in order for the dentist to take a closer look.
The dental hygienist will also assist with periodontal therapy, which is a non-surgical treatment for patient with gum disease.
Fluoride treatments and sealants are considered preventative dental care, which also falls under the scope of many dental hygienist jobs.
A dental hygienist will also take and develop dental x-rays for patients. Again, while not qualified to make any diagnoses, the hygienist can streamline the process by alerting the dentist to abnormalities in the x-ray.
One of the dental hygienist’s jobs may also include preparation for lab work or other diagnostics tests and procedures to be performed by the dentist.
A dental hygienist is expected to assist in keeping the patient’s records up to date, to include updating what medications are currently being taken by the patient, both those relating to dental procedures as well as others.
In addition to these jobs, in some states, dental hygienist jobs also include such duties as the administration of anesthetics. Other duties that may be expected include the application of fillings, cleaning and polishing metal fillings, as well as the removal of sutures. These other duties vary from state to state, so be sure that you are well aware of what you are and are not allowed to do while working as a dental hygienist.
Nearly all the dental hygienist jobs available involve work in a dental or other medical facility. The work environment in which a dental hygienist will perform these daily duties is usually very well lit, often quiet, and well ventilated. Hours are usually flexible as well, ranging from part time to full time, depending upon the position that is being applied for.
There outlook for dental hygienist jobs is promising. It is a job with great security, as there will always be a need for dental hygienists to assist dentists in their daily duties, as well as to educate patients and apply preventive treatments.