12 Reasons a Career as A Dental Hygienist Could Be Right for You
Looking for a career you love? Dental hygienist ranks 12th among the best health care support jobs according to U.S. News & World Report.1 Becoming a dental hygienist is an attractive choice for many reasons, from flexibility to the satisfaction that comes from doing hands-on work that helps people live healthier lives.
What Does a Dental Hygienist Do?
Compared to both dental assistants and dentists, dental hygienists have the highest amount of one-on-one interaction with patients. In their daily work, dental hygienists provide a wide variety of preventative dental care, including:2
- Removing stains, tartar, and plaque from teeth
- Protecting teeth using fluoride and sealants
- Examining patients for oral diseases or abnormalities
- Taking and developing oral X-rays
- Informing dentists of potential issues and areas of concern
Dental hygienists also have the important job of educating patients on proper oral hygiene and care. They explain topics like flossing techniques, how to select toothbrushes and the link between diet and oral health.
Top 12 Reasons You Should Become a Dental Hygienist
1. Enjoy a Flexible Work Schedule.
No matter what type of work schedule you want, you likely can find it as a dental hygienist. Dental hygienists can work in full- or part-time roles, with many hygienists only working a few days a week.3 You could even work in a floating position in which you work at multiple offices throughout the week. In this career, you may be able to customize your schedule to fit your personal needs and maintain a healthy work-life balance.
2. Help Solve a Problem.
While taking care of your teeth is something both young and old individuals should do, as the population ages and people retain more of their original teeth than did past generations, increasing attention to dental care is needed. The American Dental Association identified a growing older population will be an increasingly significant part of dental practice over the next few years.4
3. Take the Fast Track from Student to Professional.
Becoming a dentist takes years of training and multiple degrees, but becoming a dental hygienist usually only requires earning an associate degree. Many dental hygienist associate degree programs can be completed in as few as two years. With the competitive salaries earned in this field, investing in your education and pursuing a Dental Hygiene degree could pay off very quickly.
4. Work in a Relaxed and Interactive Environment.
Dentists strive to create a calm and inviting atmosphere for patients. These efforts typically also make dental offices a comfortable and enjoyable place to work. As a dental hygienist working in this kind of environment, you’ll get to interact with people of varying ages and backgrounds every day, help to ease any fears, and ensure their visits go smoothly. Over time, you can even build relationships with your repeat patients.
5. Help Others Improve Their Health.
The value of oral hygiene goes far beyond a nice smile. According to the Mayo Clinic,5 poor oral health can lead to serious diseases and issues with overall health—including cardiovascular disease, pregnancy complications, and more. Dental hygienists have a direct impact on helping patients not only feel better about their smiles and oral health but also live healthier lives.
6. Do Hands-On Work.
Many careers require people to spend all day stuck behind a desk, staring at a computer screen. This is not true for dental hygienists. In this career, you’ll always be up and moving around the office, interacting with both co-workers and patients. As a dental hygienist, you can enjoy the satisfaction that comes from using your hands as well as your mind.
7. Every Day is Different.
Dental hygienists work with numerous patients each day. Even when you are completing similar tasks, each patient will have unique needs, concerns, and challenges. Every patient will involve different interactions, oral care, and dental health education, and you’ll need to be ready to adjust your communication style and methods for each patient. No two days will be exactly alike, and you never know what the day ahead might bring!
8. Receive Potential Benefits from Your Employer.
Dental hygienists may receive a range of benefits through their employers,6 such as paid vacations, sick leave, insurance coverage, dues for professional memberships, or tuition support for continued education. The extent of your benefits depends on your employer, and whether you are a full-time or part-time employee.
9. Enter a Stable Industry.
While the world around us is constantly changing, the fact remains that people everywhere need someone who can care for their teeth properly. No matter where you live, there are likely dental offices there.
10. Build a Lifelong Career as a Dental Hygienist.
Entry-level dental hygienists can step out of college and move into a rewarding career. Best of all, it is a career where your hours can be adjusted to fit your lifestyle and your needs as they change through the years.3 From parenthood to empty-nesting and even a soft retirement, being a dental hygienist can offer you tremendous flexibility and benefits.
11. Open the Door to Other Opportunities in the Dental Field.
Earning your associate’s degree prepares you for working as a dental hygienist, where you can gain valuable experience in the dental field. From there, you could continue to pursue your bachelor’s degree in Dental Hygiene to pursue research, teaching, or other specialized roles in dental hygiene.
12. Help Others Live Healthier Lives.
It can’t be overstated how closely oral health relates to overall health. Whether you’re promoting lifelong habits while working with children or helping someone with dental pain get back on track, working as a dental hygienist can be a rewarding career of service.
Is Becoming a Dental Hygienist Right for Me?
A career as a dental hygienist might be right for you if:
- You enjoy working on a team.
- You like interacting with people.
- You want a quick path to starting your career.
- You desire job flexibility.
- You want to help people.
- You want to feel fulfilled at work.
A career in Dental Hygiene can be fulfilling on an emotional and social level. After all, as a dental hygienist, you’ll get to help people for a living.
Are you interested in training to become a dental hygienist? Get started today by exploring Carrington College’s Dental Hygiene program.
Carrington College’s Dental Hygiene program equips you with the skills you need to provide comprehensive dental hygiene care. Through engaging coursework and hands-on training, you’ll learn how to work collaboratively, communicate effectively, and serve patients as a professional in the dental field.
If you’re ready to start working towards your career in dental hygiene, you can earn your associate’s degree in as few as 19 monts at Carrington College. Request information now.
- Best Health Care Support Jobs
- Dental Hygienists
- Dental Hygienists
- Aging and Dental Health
- Oral health: A window to your overall health