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What Will I Learn in a Dental Hygiene Program?

Higher Education Articles July 3, 2014

Dental hygiene is a profession that is controversial as far as we in the medical industry go. Most hygienists love their jobs, but there is much debate if the stress and difficult settings are worth it. Managing this particular career is challenging but quite rewarding if done so properly.

The Dental Hygiene Program and Career

Some negative aspects to the dental hygiene career are that many times dentists are struggling and cannot afford healthcare, 401k, and vacation benefits for their employees. The patient load varies, and hours for the hygienist are oftentimes reduced when the patient load goes down.

With new and changing healthcare laws and difficulty in reimbursements, budgets are tight and so the monetary rewards seem to be as well. Job openings are limited, and if there is a need to be off for a sick child or impromptu personal emergency, there is little or no compensation.

Stress levels seem to be high in the hygiene profession. Late patients can throw off an entire office schedule, causing subsequent patients to be grumpy or even cancel their appointments. Patients sometimes struggle with sensitivity and over-reactive gag reflexes that bring about delays in the flow of a normal day. Lack of communication with fellow office workers, scheduling mistakes, and personnel with bad attitudes can also decrease the attractive side of hygiene work.

The hygiene vocation may get to be a bit boring as well. Monotony may set in after doing the same routine day after day. This may not be unattractive to the older professionals that do not need the stimulation of excitement in their career, but for younger, high-energy people, standing in one spot all day scraping tartar may be a deal breaker.

Positives of a Dental Hygiene Program

On the positive side, there are professionals that come out of dental hygiene programs and are hired straightaway into good offices and upbeat surroundings. Depending on the location, there may be several opportunities in upscale offices with multiple partners that can sustain ancillary personnel in a manner that is creative as well as lucrative.

Sometimes there are opportunities for contractual agreements, which may prove to be a better option for the hygienist and the dentist as well. If a person wanted to work only part time and not be stressed to punch a clock, he or she could set his or her own fee schedule and be paid separately with his or her own personal schedule and using office equipment in a “leasing” type of agreement.

Many dentists see the true value in a good hygienist. Someone that can build a rapport with his patients and provide continuity of care will be an excellent investment in his patient genre. Regular employees that are dependable and are of good character are always an asset in every arena.

The median annual wage for dental hygienists was $70,210, in May 2012. The lowest 10 percent earned less than $40,000 per year, and the top ten percent earned over $95,000 per year.

In order to increase marketability, dental hygienists learn in a dental hygiene program how to do various oral surgery procedures, take x-rays, and perform extractions and fillings.

In conclusion, dental hygienists are necessary to ensure good prevention of gum disease and tooth decay. Taking an accredited course will teach you how to do x-rays and apply fluoride treatments and sealants, among other standards of the industry. They not only do the mechanical cleaning and maintenance, but they are also instrumental in training and educating the public in techniques of hygiene like brushing and flossing.

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  • GRE waivers available for qualified applicants.
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