Dental Hygienists

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Also known as:  Dental Hygienist, Oral Hygienist, RDH, Registered Dental Hygienist

ABOUT DENTAL HYGIENIST CAREERS

VIDEO TRANSCRIPT Expand
Dental hygienists provide preventive and corrective dental care and promote good oral hygiene and health. A typical day involves examining patients' teeth and gums for disease and cavities, cleaning and polishing teeth, and helping patients understand proper brushing and flossing techniques.

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To be successful in this profession, you must be detail-oriented and have the ability to work well with your hands. In addition, you must be willing to work with x-rays, needles, and anesthetics, following strict safety procedures at all times.

This career has many enjoyable aspects, one of which is constant interaction with many different people from all walks of life. Other benefits include flexible scheduling and little overtime, making this profession an accommodating and pleasant one for many job seekers.
SNAPSHOT Expand
Clean teeth and examine oral areas, head, and neck for signs of oral disease. May educate patients on oral hygiene, take and develop x rays, or apply fluoride or sealants.
Leadership
HIGH
Critical decision making
HIGH
Level of responsibilities
LOW
Job challenge and pressure to meet deadlines
HIGH
Dealing and handling conflict
LOW
Competition for this position
LOW
Communication with others
HIGH
Work closely with team members, clients etc.
HIGH
Comfort of the work setting
HIGH
Exposure to extreme environmental conditions
LOW
Exposure to job hazards
LOW
Physical demands
LOW
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DAILY TASKS Expand
Feel lymph nodes under patient's chin to detect swelling or tenderness that could indicate presence of oral cancer.
Examine gums, using probes, to locate periodontal recessed gums and signs of gum disease.
Remove excess cement from coronal surfaces of teeth.
Maintain patient recall system.
Provide clinical services or health education to improve and maintain the oral health of patients or the general public.
Record and review patient medical histories.
Expose and develop x-ray film.
Maintain dental equipment and sharpen and sterilize dental instruments.
Clean calcareous deposits, accretions, and stains from teeth and beneath margins of gums, using dental instruments.
Feel and visually examine gums for sores and signs of disease.
Chart conditions of decay and disease for diagnosis and treatment by dentist.
MAIN ACTIVITIES Expand
Documenting/Recording Information Entering, transcribing, recording, storing, or maintaining information in written or electronic/magnetic form.
Performing for or Working Directly with the Public Performing for people or dealing directly with the public. This includes serving customers in restaurants and stores, and receiving clients or guests.
Assisting and Caring for Others Providing personal assistance, medical attention, emotional support, or other personal care to others such as coworkers, customers, or patients.
Getting Information Observing, receiving, and otherwise obtaining information from all relevant sources.
Communicating with Supervisors, Peers, or Subordinates Providing information to supervisors, co-workers, and subordinates by telephone, in written form, e-mail, or in person.
Interpreting the Meaning of Information for Others Translating or explaining what information means and how it can be used.
Identifying Objects, Actions, and Events Identifying information by categorizing, estimating, recognizing differences or similarities, and detecting changes in circumstances or events.
Updating and Using Relevant Knowledge Keeping up-to-date technically and applying new knowledge to your job.
AREAS OF KNOWLEDGE Expand
Medicine and Dentistry Knowledge of the information and techniques needed to diagnose and treat human injuries, diseases, and deformities. This includes symptoms, treatment alternatives, drug properties and interactions, and preventive health-care measures.
Customer and Personal Service Knowledge of principles and processes for providing customer and personal services. This includes customer needs assessment, meeting quality standards for services, and evaluation of customer satisfaction.
English Language Knowledge of the structure and content of the English language including the meaning and spelling of words, rules of composition, and grammar.
Psychology Knowledge of human behavior and performance; individual differences in ability, personality, and interests; learning and motivation; psychological research methods; and the assessment and treatment of behavioral and affective disorders.
Education and Training Knowledge of principles and methods for curriculum and training design, teaching and instruction for individuals and groups, and the measurement of training effects.
Biology Knowledge of plant and animal organisms, their tissues, cells, functions, interdependencies, and interactions with each other and the environment.
Sales and Marketing Knowledge of principles and methods for showing, promoting, and selling products or services. This includes marketing strategy and tactics, product demonstration, sales techniques, and sales control systems.
Communications and Media Knowledge of media production, communication, and dissemination techniques and methods. This includes alternative ways to inform and entertain via written, oral, and visual media.
KEY ABILITIES Expand
Oral Expression The ability to communicate information and ideas in speaking so others will understand.
Problem Sensitivity The ability to tell when something is wrong or is likely to go wrong. It does not involve solving the problem, only recognizing there is a problem.
Oral Comprehension The ability to listen to and understand information and ideas presented through spoken words and sentences.
Near Vision The ability to see details at close range (within a few feet of the observer).
Finger Dexterity The ability to make precisely coordinated movements of the fingers of one or both hands to grasp, manipulate, or assemble very small objects.
Arm-Hand Steadiness The ability to keep your hand and arm steady while moving your arm or while holding your arm and hand in one position.
Speech Recognition The ability to identify and understand the speech of another person.
Written Expression The ability to communicate information and ideas in writing so others will understand.
TOP SKILLS Expand
Active Listening Giving full attention to what other people are saying, taking time to understand the points being made, asking questions as appropriate, and not interrupting at inappropriate times.
Speaking Talking to others to convey information effectively.
Critical Thinking Using logic and reasoning to identify the strengths and weaknesses of alternative solutions, conclusions or approaches to problems.
Social Perceptiveness Being aware of others' reactions and understanding why they react as they do.
Reading Comprehension Understanding written sentences and paragraphs in work related documents.
Coordination Adjusting actions in relation to others' actions.
Service Orientation Actively looking for ways to help people.
Judgment and Decision Making Considering the relative costs and benefits of potential actions to choose the most appropriate one.
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