Oral hygiene and disease prevention go hand in hand, and it is the duty of the dental hygienist to make sure that patients have a healthy, good-looking mouth. Simply put, hygienists are trained professionals who clean all the calcareous deposits and the stains from both the teeth and beneath the gums. These professionals use advanced medical instruments and technologies to detect potential tenderness, swelling and inflammation in the mouth that can raise suspicion of oral cancer. It often happens that hygienists also instruct their patients on how to correctly flush their teeth and how important it is to diagnose potentially fatal conditions as quickly as possible.
The average yearly salary of a hygienist is of around $67,000 a year, although their median wages can range anywhere between $48,000 and $72,000.
Pay Scale In Different Areas Of The United States
The pay scale for dental hygienists varies across the US, but the state of Alaska is currently considered to be the highest paying state at the moment, as these professionals can enjoy a mean yearly wage here of around $96,000. After Alaska, the second highest paying state is said to be Washington, as hygienists who work here get around $90,000 a year. The third highest paying state is California with a mean yearly wage of $87,000, followed by Nevada with $81,000 and ultimately by Oregon with $77,000 a year.
Hygienist Job Description
The main duty of the dental hygienist is to promote good dental health and to provide efficient, accurate and high quality oral cancer screening as well as radiographic studies. These professionals also look for signs of decay and disease and they perform a variety of other dental practices.
Amongst the main duties of the hygienist, there is preparing the treatment room for patients, preparing the patient for the following dental hygiene treatment (which includes welcoming, seating and then draping the patient) and offering patients all the information they need to know prior and after the treatment.
It is also the duty of the hygienist to make sure that all the instrumentation is sharp, clean and sterile, and to select the right equipment and materials for the dental hygiene visit. These professionals clean all the stains and the deposits from the teeth and gum margins and they also perform a complete dental prophylaxis. They prevent and treat dental decay with the help of fluorides and other agents designed to prevent the formation of decay, and they occasionally clean and polish the removable appliances as well (along with removing the extra cement from the bridges and the crowns, when needed).
It often happens that dental hygienists work closely with dentists and help them manage dental and medical emergencies, and they also provide all patients (both children and adults) with plaque control instructions. Their general duty is to maintain the working environment as clean and safe as possible, and to protect both the employees and the patients by closely adhering to all the infection control policies that currently apply.
How To Become A Hygienist?
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- Dental Assisting - Associate's
If you have decided to become a registered dental hygienist, then you should know that this will certainly open many doors for you in the future, as people are always in need of skilled and trained professionals in the field of preventive dental cleaning. The first and perhaps most important step that you need to take is to complete all your high school studies and to get either a diploma or a GED.
Once you have done that, the second step is to sit either for the SAT or the ACT exams, as universities and technical or community colleges do require you to pass these tests in order to enroll in college. After that, they must apply for a dental hygiene degree program which typically lasts for two years and results in a certificate or an Associate’s Degree.
It is very important to make sure that the dental hygienist program you have opted for is accredited. Throughout the two years ot study, you will get a deeper insight into both classroom teaching and clinical study – only after you have completed this training you can move on to applying to a four-year university that will eventually result in a Bachelor’s Degree in Dental Hygiene.
Once you have obtained your Bachelor’s Degree in Dental Hygiene, you can move on and apply to take the National Board Dental Hygiene Examination which will get you registered. This exam is administered by the American Dental Association, and after that you can apply for your state license and pass the state clinical exam that will result in the title of Registered Dental Hygienist. Once you have gotten this title, you can move on to applying for positions destined to registered dental hygienists.
The licensing and certification requirements for dental hygienists can vary a lot from one state to another, but generally speaking these professionals need to pass the National Board Dental Hygiene Examination. In order to get your license, you must firstly document your graduation from an accredited program, and to provide your score on the national board exam mentioned above.
Hygienist Salary In Canada, Australia And The United Kingdom
Now that you know what it takes to get your license as a dental hygienist, it is important to know that a hygienist who works in Canada should expect to earn anywhere between CAD 42,000 and CAD 92,000. A hygienist who resides in the United Kingdom has a mean yearly salary of around 37,000 pounds, while one who works in Australia should expect to be paid around Au$49,000 to Au$109,000.
Verdict On Hygienist Salary
To conclude, hygienists are an essential part of the health care system as these professionals make sure that all the procedures take place in a safe, efficient, clean and secure manner. The average salary for hygienists is currently very rewarding, especially since the training takes little over 6 years and the job outlook is also excellent at the moment. Overall, hygienist salary is great even for those who own an entry-level position in the field.