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DENTAL HYGIENISTS CAREER INFORMATION

Dental Hygiene


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Dental hygienists clean teeth, examine patients for signs of oral diseases such as gingivitis, and provide other preventative dental care. They also educate patients on ways to improve and maintain good oral health.

Duties: Dental hygienists typically do the following:

  • Remove tartar, stains, and plaque from teeth
  • Apply sealants and fluorides to help protect teeth
  • Take and develop dental x rays
  • Keep track of patient care and treatment plans
  • Teach patients oral hygiene, such as how to brush and floss correctly

Dental hygienists use many types of tools to do their job. They clean and polish teeth with both hand and powered tools, as well as ultrasonic devices. In some cases, they remove stains with an air polishing device, which sprays a combination of air, water, and baking soda. They polish teeth with a powered tool that works like an automatic toothbrush. Hygienists use x-ray machines to take pictures to check for tooth or jaw problems.

Dental hygienists help patients develop and keep good oral health. For example, they may explain the relationship between diet and oral health. They also may give advice to patients on how to select toothbrushes and other oral-care devices.

Other tasks hygienists may perform vary by state. Some states allow hygienists to place and carve filling materials, temporary fillings, and periodontal dressings.

 

OUTLOOK & WAGE DATA

United States

Employment

Percent 
Change

Job Openings

2010

2020

Dental Hygienists

181,800

250,300

+38%

10,490

California

Employment

Percent 
Change

Job Openings

2008

2018

Dental Hygienists

18,500

23,300

+26%

850

Wage Data

Pay
Period

2010

10%

25%

Median

75%

90%

United States

Hourly

$21.64

$26.89

$32.81

$39.10

$45.11

Yearly

$45,000

$55,900

$68,200

$81,300

$93,800

California

Hourly

$26.14

$35.60

$45.03

$52.09

$57.26

Yearly

$54,400

$74,000

$93,700

$108,300

$119,100

Job Openings refers to the average annual job openings due to growth and net replacement.

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State and National Trends
Job Openings refers to the average annual job openings due to growth and net replacement.
Note: The data for the State Employment Trends and the National Employment Trends are not directly comparable. The projections period for state data is 2008-2018, while the projections period for national data is 2010-2020.
projections period for national data is 2010-2020.

Occupation Trends FAQs
Employment Trends by Occupation Across States
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Employment Trends by Industry and Occupation

 

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National Data Source: 
Bureau of Labor Statistics, Office of Occupational Statistics and Employment Projections

 CA.gov logo State Data Source: 
California Employment Development Department, Labor Market Information Division

Gainful Employment Data

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Last updated: 6/28/2013 11:41:35 AM