Dental hygienists are primary health care professionals working to provide full oral health care. They have a median average salary of $70,556 per year while the average hourly salary peaks to $34 per hour.

Dental Hygienists basically focus on working with dental associations, nursing homes, clinics or hospitals after graduating from an accredited dental hygiene program to provide oral health care. From independent practice to private practice, dental hygienists can choose various career opportunities in fields of research, public health, education, sales and marketing and government so as to support the total health by promoting optimum oral health care.

What do Dental Hygienists do?

In general, dental hygienists help in providing dental care by cleaning teeth, examining patients for different oral diseases and provide education to the public in order to maintain a proper oral health.

In their professional practice, dental hygienists perform the following medical procedures:

  • Removes stains, tartar, and plaque from the teeth of patient
  • Apply chemicals like fluorides and sealants to protect cavities
  • Develop X Rays
  • Perform periodontal dressings
  • Carve filling materials and make fillings inside empty cavities
  • Provide education regarding brushing, flossing, and oral hygiene techniques

How to Become a Dental Hygienist

To become a dental hygienist, one needs to have an associate’s degree in dental hygiene. Most countries require accreditation and license to make medical practices. A Bachelor’s degree in dental hygiene is considered to be of high esteem in Asian nations but are very less common in European and American nations.

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Students who have completed their high school education should have taken courses in chemistry, biology and mathematics so as to become a dental hygienist. The subjects are among the specific entrance requirements.

Dental Hygienist needs to study several health conditions related to the oral hygiene that includes anatomy, nutrition, physiology, periodontology and radiography. Almost all schools offer their own laboratory for practice.

A dental hygienist should develop several qualities to go through with his or her career. The qualities range from compassion and being sensitive to the emotions of the patients to being detail oriented, the ability to follow the protocols and rules of dental hygiene while treating patients, dexterity and physical stamina.

Best Dental Hygienist Schools

Considered as one of the highest paying jobs in the world, Dental Hygiene degrees are provided in almost all countries throughout the world from different universities. However, United States is still considered to be the finest nations in the world for the study of Dental Hygiene. Some of the top ranking college/universities in the United States that provide several degrees in Dental Hygiene are-

1. Ohio State University (Columbus, OH) – Bachelor’s and Master’s degree in Dental Hygiene.

2. University of Maryland (College Park, MD) – Bachelor’s and Master’s degree in Dental Hygiene.

3. University of Michigan (Ann Arbor, MI) – Bachelor’s and Master’s degree in Dental Hygiene.

4. University of Oklahoma (Norman, OK) – 2-year dental hygiene program with another two years of foundation work.

Dental Hygienist Salary

How much do dental hygienists make? Well, the median annual wage for dental hygienists is $70,556, as of October 30, 2017. The lowest 10 percent earning dental hygienists averaged to less than $60,565 a year while the top 10 percent earning dental hygienists make more than $80,313 annually.

Of course, this can vary widely depending on a variety of factors including one’s geographical area of practice. Dental hygienists average a whopping sum of $108,790 per year in San Francisco; the highest earning place for dental hygienists.

In a country like the United Kingdom, a dental hygienist salary is based on experience. The pay ranges from ₤45,000 ($55,456) – ₤60,000 ($73,941). According to Payscale, an entry-level Dental Hygienist with less than 5 years of experience can expect to earn an average total compensation of ₤45,000 including tips, bonus, and overtime pay.

For those with mid-career experience which includes employees with 5 to 10 years of experience, the average total compensation is around ₤52,000. Meanwhile, experienced Dental Hygienists, those with 10 to 20 years of experience, can expect to earn an average total compensation of ₤55,000. Also, a Dental Hygienist with late-career experience which includes employees with more than 20 years of experience, the average total compensation is somewhere around ₤60,000.

This is different from those in the United States. According to Salary, as of Jan. 30, 2018, the median annual Dental Hygienist salary is $70,957, with a range usually between $60,907 – $80,767, which can vary depending on several factors.