Dental hygienists strictly treat a patient’s teeth…right? Not necessarily. Surprisingly, dental hygienists treat more than teeth. Yes, they first and foremost do perform preventive and therapeutic oral care but, as you mouth goes, so goes the rest of your health. For example, people afflicted with diabetes are generally susceptible to periodontal diseases, making the dental hygienist a gateway to total body health.
Dental hygienists also can save lives. True. Cases have been reported where untreated toothaches have led to deaths. In certain cases, then, a good dental hygienist can be a life-saver. And, if you think a century-old profession can’t be one of America’s hottest jobs, you’d be wrong again. Although the profession has been around more than 100 years, dental hygienists work in one of the economy’s hottest jobs today, with hiring expected to increase by 20 percent through 2026.
Dental hygienists do more than just “clean your teeth.” Their duties to each patient also include checking your mouth for lesions, your teeth for cavities, and your gums for periodontal disease. Many dental hygienists find it “creepy” when you make your tongue follow their instruments around, and downright irritating if your use your tongue to nudge the instruments out of the way. And, did you know dental hygienists consider it disrespectful to eat or not clean your teeth right before seeing them?
Just because you’re a dental hygienist doesn’t mean you’re restricted to working in a private dental office. Depending on your preferences, you could find yourself on-the-job in community clinics, hospitals, prison facilities, schools, Head Start locations, and nursing homes, among others. Plus, with additional education, you may be able to provide expanded services in select states, such as Minnesota and Maine, which have adopted new workforce models to provide healthcare services for low-income families.
So, being a dental hygienist may be way more than you thought it would be…at least in certain situations. Plus, dental hygiene can be a very flexible occupation. If your schedule demands it, you could work part-time as a dental hygienist.
Interested in learning more? Visit our Dental Programs page to get additional details and to find the campus nearest you offering a Dental Hygiene program. And, if you want to get into the dental profession, but as a dental assistant or expanded functions dental assistant, Fortis Colleges and Institutes offer programs in those areas of study, too. Why not start exploring a new career today?
Check out our recent article detailing A Day in the Life of Dental Hygienist to learn more.