In Summary - Dental Hygienist
Dental Hygienists typically work in the following Career Sectors:
The Work - Dental Hygienist
Dental hygienists are concerned with the general health of people's teeth and gums. The dentist sees the patient first and then, if it is appropriate, passes them on to the hygienist to carry out treatment. Hygienists scale, clean and polish teeth as well as apply substances such as fluorides and fissure sealant to prevent decay. Hygienists also advise patients on how to take care of their teeth. They tell them about suitable diets and show them how to brush their teeth properly and how to use dental floss and mouth rinses.
Sometimes hygienists visit schools or clinics to talk to groups of people about oral health. For this part of the work, hygienists need to be clear in their explanations and able to convince different audiences about the importance of dental care.
A dental hygienist working in a hospital would do all of the above types of work as well as working with patients undergoing surgery or having corrective dental treatment. With this group of patients, the dental hygienist aims to keep the mouth in a healthy condition.
Most commonly reported Work Tasks
- Clean calcareous deposits, accretions, and stains from teeth and beneath margins of gums, using dental instruments.
- Record and review patient medical histories.
- Examine gums, using probes, to locate periodontal recessed gums and signs of gum disease.
- Feel and visually examine gums for sores and signs of disease.
- Expose and develop x-ray film.
- Chart conditions of decay and disease for diagnosis and treatment by dentist.
- Maintain dental equipment and sharpen and sterilize dental instruments.
- Feel lymph nodes under patient's chin to detect swelling or tenderness that could indicate presence of oral cancer.
- Provide clinical services or health education to improve and maintain the oral health of patients or the general public.
- Apply fluorides or other cavity preventing agents to arrest dental decay.
Most commonly reported Work Activities
- 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.
- Documenting/Recording Information Entering, transcribing, recording, storing, or maintaining information in written or electronic/magnetic form.
- Updating and Using Relevant Knowledge Keeping up-to-date technically and applying new knowledge to your job.
- Identifying Objects, Actions, and Events Identifying information by categorizing, estimating, recognizing differences or similarities, and detecting changes in circumstances or events.
- Evaluating Information to Determine Compliance with Standards Using relevant information and individual judgment to determine whether events or processes comply with laws, regulations, or standards.
- 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.
- Establishing and Maintaining Interpersonal Relationships Developing constructive and cooperative working relationships with others, and maintaining them over time.
- Monitor Processes, Materials, or Surroundings Monitoring and reviewing information from materials, events, or the environment, to detect or assess problems.
- Interpreting the Meaning of Information for Others Translating or explaining what information means and how it can be used.
Interests - Dental Hygienist
This occupation is typically suited for people with the following Career Interests:
The Social person's interests focus on interacting with the people in their environment. In all cases, the Social person enjoys the personal contact with other people in preference to the impersonal dealings with things, data and ideas found in other groups.
Many will seek out positions where there is direct contact with the public in some advisory role, whether a receptionist or a counsellor. Social people are motivated by an interest in different types of people and like diversity in their work environments. Many are drawn towards careers in the caring professions and social welfare area, whilst others prefer teaching and other 'informing' roles.
Realists are usually interested in 'things' - such as buildings, mechanics, equipment, tools, electronics etc. Their primary focus is dealing with these - as in building, fixing, operating or designing them. Involvement in these areas leads to high manual skills, or a fine aptitude for practical design - as found in the various forms of engineering.
Realists like to find practical solutions to problems using tools, technology and skilled work. Realists usually prefer to be active in their work environment, often do most of their work alone, and enjoy taking decisive action with a minimum amount of discussion and paperwork.
Administrative people are interested in work that offers security and a sense of being part of a larger process. They may be at their most productive under supervisors who give clear guidelines and while performing routine tasks in a methodical and reliable way.
They tend to enjoy clerical and most forms of office work, where they perform essential administrative duties. They often form the backbone of large and small organisations alike. They may enjoy being in charge of office filing systems, and using computers and other office equipment to keep things running smoothly. They usually like routine work hours and prefer comfortable indoor workplaces.
In order to ensure that treatments are carried out quickly and effectively, you will need to put patients at ease and inspire them with confidence. This means you'll have to get on with all sorts of people of all different ages.
Hygienists use a wide range of manual and powered instruments, so you should have a steady hand, good eyesight and the ability to concentrate on complex tasks.
Entry Requirements - Dental Hygienist
Pay & Salary - Dental Hygienist
Salary Range (thousands per year)* 25k - 41k
Last Updated: March, 2017
* The lower figures typically reflect starting salaries. Higher salaries are awarded to those with greater experience and responsibility. Positions in Dublin sometimes command higher salaries.
Labour Market Updates - Dental Hygienist
Useful Contacts - Dental Hygienist
Dublin Dental University Hospital
Irish Dental Association
Dental Health Foundation Ireland
Cork University Dental School and Hospital
National Dental Nurse Training Programme of Ireland
Dental Council of Ireland