My watch list  

Dental hygienist

A dental hygienist is a licensed dental auxiliary who specializes in preventive dental care, typically but not limited to focusing on techniques in oral hygiene. Local dental regulations determine the duties hygienists are able to perform. In most jurisdictions, hygienists work for a dentist, and are licensed to administer restricted techniques of local anesthesia. Also radiographs, sealants, scaling, root planing and cleaning are common procedures performed by dental hygienists.

In some areas, the dental regulations include extended duties and exemptions for dental hygienists. Some hygienists are allowed to practice without dentist supervision, use restricted bleaching techniques, and in some areas are even allowed to restore teeth using restricted classes of fillings.


Dental hygiene process of care

The dental hygiene process of care has five steps:

  • Assessment: Gathering data.
  • Dental hygiene diagnosis: Interpreting the data into a coherent description of a client's condition in terms that can be addressed by a dental hygienist.
  • Planning: Determining the techniques that will solve the problems indicated in the dental hygiene diagnosis and the order in which those techniques will be applied.
  • Implementation: Carrying out the plan.
  • Evaluation: Determining the effectiveness of the work that was performed.

Over a period of months or years a dental hygienist may have evaluated his or her work several times, altering the diagnosis and plan numerous times as the client's condition changes.

UK Dental Hygienists

There are approximately 20 training providers in the UK who offer dental hygienist and dental therapist training; however ,there are fewer schools that train dental hygiene only as many schools now undertake the combined dental hygiene/therapy course. Generally the entry requirements are 5 GCSE subjects graded A – C including English language and biology or human biology, and a recognised dental nursing qualification, or 2 A level passes and 5 GCSE passes at A-C for those individuals who do not have a dental nursing qualification.

USA Dental Hygienists


Becoming a dental hygienist requires formal education. The most common requirement for a dental hygiene degree consists of a two-year degree after science and general education prerequisites. Courses include anatomy, oral anatomy, materials science, pharmacology, periodontology, nutrition, and clinical skills. There are also four-year and six-year degrees in dental hygiene. In addition, the American Dental Hygienists' Association has defined a more advanced level of dental hygiene, the Advanced Dental Hygiene Practitioner.


Salaries for dental hygienists vary depending on experience and geographic location. The median hourly wage for hygienists in 2004 in the US was $28.05 per hour (Bureau of Labor Statistics, U.S. Department of Labor, Occupational Outlook Handbook, 2006-07 Edition, Dental Hygienists, on the Internet at (visited September 28, 2006)).


  • Mueller-Joseph, L., & Petersen, M. (1995). Dental Hygiene Process: Diagnosis and Care Planning. Albany, NY: Delmar.


  • British Dental Hygienists' Association

See also

This article is licensed under the GNU Free Documentation License. It uses material from the Wikipedia article "Dental_hygienist". A list of authors is available in Wikipedia.
Your browser is not current. Microsoft Internet Explorer 6.0 does not support some functions on Chemie.DE