Summary Report for:
29-2021.00 - Dental Hygienists
Clean teeth and examine oral areas, head, and neck for signs of oral disease. May educate patients on oral hygiene, take and develop x rays, or apply fluoride or sealants.
Sample of reported job titles: Dental Hygienist; Dental Hygienist, Mobile Coordinator; Education Coordinator; Hygienist; Implant Coordinator; Pediatric Dental Hygienist; Registered Dental Hygienist (RDH); Registered Dental Hygienist, Part Time Clinical Faculty
Tasks | Tools & Technology | Knowledge | Skills | Abilities | Work Activities | Detailed Work Activities | Work Context | Job Zone | Education | Credentials | Interests | Work Styles | Work Values | Related Occupations | Wages & Employment | Job Openings | Additional Information
- 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.
- Maintain patient recall system.
- Administer local anesthetic agents.
- Remove excess cement from coronal surfaces of teeth.
- Conduct dental health clinics for community groups to augment services of dentist.
Tools & Technology
Tools used in this occupation:
- Amalgam carriers
- Attachments or replacement parts for dental instruments — Rotating caps
- Dental amalgamators — Mechanical mixers
- Dental bite blocks or wings or tabs — Bite wings
- Dental cutting or separating discs — Angle formers
- Dental dam supplies — Rubber dams
- Dental examination chairs or related parts or accessories — Dental chairs
- Dental film processors — Dental x ray development equipment
- Dental hygiene instruments — Electronic calculus detectors
- Dental impression trays — Impression trays
- Dental instrument sharpening accessories — Instrument sharpening devices
- Dental laboratory air abrasion units — Air abrasion equipment
- Dental lasers — Caries detection aids; Neodymium-doped Yttrium Aluminum Garnet Nd:YAG dental lasers
- Dental matrices or sets — Matrices/matrix retainers
- Dental operatory retraction cords — Retraction cords
- Dental probes — Calculus explorers; Caries explorers; Nabers furcation probes; Periodontal probes
- Dental pulp or vitality testers — Pulp testers
- Dental radiology film — Periapical films
- Dental saliva ejectors or oral suction devices or supplies — Saliva ejectors; Suctioning equipment
- Dental scalers or accessories — Hand scalers; Hollow handle scalars; Solid handle scalars; Ultrasonic scalers (see all 7 examples)
- Dental syringes or needles or syringes with needles — Aspirating syringes; Dental needles
- Dental tongs — Cotton pliers
- Dental x ray units — Dental x ray machines; Digital dental x ray units; Panoramic dental x ray units; Portable dental x ray units
- Digital cameras — Intraoral dental cameras
- Electronic blood pressure units
- Medical acoustic stethoscope or accessory — Mechanical stethoscopes
- Medical radiation films or badges — Film badges
- Medical radiological shielding aprons or masks or drapes — Lead aprons
- Mercury blood pressure units — Manual blood pressure cuffs
- Microscope slides
- Notebook computers
- Oxygen therapy delivery system products accessories or its supplies — Nitrous oxide administration equipment; Oxygen administration equipment
- Personal computers
- Scanners — Computer scanners
- Steam autoclaves or sterilizers — Autoclaves
- Teeth cleaning devices or accessories — Air-driven dental polishers; Air/water syringes; Dental polishers; Motor-driven dental polishers
- Ultrasonic cleaning equipment — Ultrasonic sterilization units
Technology used in this occupation:
- Accounting software — Dental billing software
- Calendar and scheduling software — Scheduling software
- Electronic mail software — Email software
- Internet browser software — Web browser software
- Inventory management software
- Medical software — Dental charting software; Dental office management software; Henry Schein Dentrix software; Voice-activated perio charting software (see all 8 examples)
- Office suite software — Microsoft Office
- Spreadsheet software — Microsoft Excel
- Word processing software — Microsoft Word
- Medicine and Dentistry — Knowledge of the information and techniques needed to diagnose and treat human injuries, diseases, and deformities. This includes symptoms, treatment alternatives, drug properties and interactions, and preventive health-care measures.
- Customer and Personal Service — Knowledge of principles and processes for providing customer and personal services. This includes customer needs assessment, meeting quality standards for services, and evaluation of customer satisfaction.
- English Language — Knowledge of the structure and content of the English language including the meaning and spelling of words, rules of composition, and grammar.
- Psychology — Knowledge of human behavior and performance; individual differences in ability, personality, and interests; learning and motivation; psychological research methods; and the assessment and treatment of behavioral and affective disorders.
- Biology — Knowledge of plant and animal organisms, their tissues, cells, functions, interdependencies, and interactions with each other and the environment.
- Education and Training — Knowledge of principles and methods for curriculum and training design, teaching and instruction for individuals and groups, and the measurement of training effects.
- Sales and Marketing — Knowledge of principles and methods for showing, promoting, and selling products or services. This includes marketing strategy and tactics, product demonstration, sales techniques, and sales control systems.
- Speaking — Talking to others to convey information effectively.
- Active Listening — Giving full attention to what other people are saying, taking time to understand the points being made, asking questions as appropriate, and not interrupting at inappropriate times.
- Critical Thinking — Using logic and reasoning to identify the strengths and weaknesses of alternative solutions, conclusions or approaches to problems.
- Judgment and Decision Making — Considering the relative costs and benefits of potential actions to choose the most appropriate one.
- Monitoring — Monitoring/Assessing performance of yourself, other individuals, or organizations to make improvements or take corrective action.
- Service Orientation — Actively looking for ways to help people.
- Social Perceptiveness — Being aware of others' reactions and understanding why they react as they do.
- Writing — Communicating effectively in writing as appropriate for the needs of the audience.
- Active Learning — Understanding the implications of new information for both current and future problem-solving and decision-making.
- Coordination — Adjusting actions in relation to others' actions.
- Instructing — Teaching others how to do something.
- Persuasion — Persuading others to change their minds or behavior.
- Reading Comprehension — Understanding written sentences and paragraphs in work related documents.
- Time Management — Managing one's own time and the time of others.
- Near Vision — The ability to see details at close range (within a few feet of the observer).
- Problem Sensitivity — The ability to tell when something is wrong or is likely to go wrong. It does not involve solving the problem, only recognizing there is a problem.
- Oral Comprehension — The ability to listen to and understand information and ideas presented through spoken words and sentences.
- Oral Expression — The ability to communicate information and ideas in speaking so others will understand.
- Finger Dexterity — The ability to make precisely coordinated movements of the fingers of one or both hands to grasp, manipulate, or assemble very small objects.
- Arm-Hand Steadiness — The ability to keep your hand and arm steady while moving your arm or while holding your arm and hand in one position.
- Deductive Reasoning — The ability to apply general rules to specific problems to produce answers that make sense.
- Speech Clarity — The ability to speak clearly so others can understand you.
- Speech Recognition — The ability to identify and understand the speech of another person.
- Control Precision — The ability to quickly and repeatedly adjust the controls of a machine or a vehicle to exact positions.
- Inductive Reasoning — The ability to combine pieces of information to form general rules or conclusions (includes finding a relationship among seemingly unrelated events).
- Manual Dexterity — The ability to quickly move your hand, your hand together with your arm, or your two hands to grasp, manipulate, or assemble objects.
- Selective Attention — The ability to concentrate on a task over a period of time without being distracted.
- Written Comprehension — The ability to read and understand information and ideas presented in writing.
- Written Expression — The ability to communicate information and ideas in writing so others will understand.
- Category Flexibility — The ability to generate or use different sets of rules for combining or grouping things in different ways.
- Information Ordering — The ability to arrange things or actions in a certain order or pattern according to a specific rule or set of rules (e.g., patterns of numbers, letters, words, pictures, mathematical operations).
- Time Sharing — The ability to shift back and forth between two or more activities or sources of information (such as speech, sounds, touch, or other sources).
- 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.
- 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.
- Identifying Objects, Actions, and Events — Identifying information by categorizing, estimating, recognizing differences or similarities, and detecting changes in circumstances or events.
- 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.
- Making Decisions and Solving Problems — Analyzing information and evaluating results to choose the best solution and solve problems.
- Communicating with Supervisors, Peers, or Subordinates — Providing information to supervisors, co-workers, and subordinates by telephone, in written form, e-mail, or in person.
- Handling and Moving Objects — Using hands and arms in handling, installing, positioning, and moving materials, and manipulating things.
- Inspecting Equipment, Structures, or Material — Inspecting equipment, structures, or materials to identify the cause of errors or other problems or defects.
- Controlling Machines and Processes — Using either control mechanisms or direct physical activity to operate machines or processes (not including computers or vehicles).
- Interacting With Computers — Using computers and computer systems (including hardware and software) to program, write software, set up functions, enter data, or process information.
- Organizing, Planning, and Prioritizing Work — Developing specific goals and plans to prioritize, organize, and accomplish your work.
- Scheduling Work and Activities — Scheduling events, programs, and activities, as well as the work of others.
- Processing Information — Compiling, coding, categorizing, calculating, tabulating, auditing, or verifying information or data.
- Training and Teaching Others — Identifying the educational needs of others, developing formal educational or training programs or classes, and teaching or instructing others.
- Developing Objectives and Strategies — Establishing long-range objectives and specifying the strategies and actions to achieve them.
- Performing General Physical Activities — Performing physical activities that require considerable use of your arms and legs and moving your whole body, such as climbing, lifting, balancing, walking, stooping, and handling of materials.
- Judging the Qualities of Things, Services, or People — Assessing the value, importance, or quality of things or people.
- Selling or Influencing Others — Convincing others to buy merchandise/goods or to otherwise change their minds or actions.
Detailed Work Activities
- Treat dental problems or diseases.
- Record patient medical histories.
- Examine mouth, teeth, gums, or related facial structures.
- Operate diagnostic or therapeutic medical instruments or equipment.
- Process x-rays or other medical images.
- Treat acute illnesses, infections, or injuries.
- Fabricate medical devices.
- Adjust dental devices or appliances to ensure fit.
- Administer anesthetics or sedatives to control pain.
- Maintain medical equipment or instruments.
- Provide health and wellness advice to patients, program participants, or caregivers.
- Sterilize medical equipment or instruments.
- Direct healthcare delivery programs.
- Contact With Others — 100% responded “Constant contact with others.”
- Exposed to Disease or Infections — 100% responded “Every day.”
- Physical Proximity — 99% responded “Very close (near touching).”
- Wear Common Protective or Safety Equipment such as Safety Shoes, Glasses, Gloves, Hearing Protection, Hard Hats, or Life Jackets — 100% responded “Every day.”
- Spend Time Using Your Hands to Handle, Control, or Feel Objects, Tools, or Controls — 97% responded “Continually or almost continually.”
- Face-to-Face Discussions — 89% responded “Every day.”
- Indoors, Environmentally Controlled — 97% responded “Every day.”
- Spend Time Making Repetitive Motions — 74% responded “Continually or almost continually.”
- Exposed to Radiation — 91% responded “Every day.”
- Work With Work Group or Team — 71% responded “Extremely important.”
- Importance of Repeating Same Tasks — 58% responded “Extremely important.”
- Importance of Being Exact or Accurate — 53% responded “Extremely important.”
- Frequency of Decision Making — 65% responded “Every day.”
- Spend Time Sitting — 52% responded “More than half the time.”
- Exposed to Contaminants — 78% responded “Every day.”
- Spend Time Bending or Twisting the Body — 44% responded “Continually or almost continually.”
- Time Pressure — 61% responded “Every day.”
- Structured versus Unstructured Work — 60% responded “Some freedom.”
- Deal With External Customers — 55% responded “Extremely important.”
- Freedom to Make Decisions — 44% responded “Limited freedom.”
- Impact of Decisions on Co-workers or Company Results — 54% responded “Important results.”
- Responsible for Others' Health and Safety — 35% responded “Very high responsibility.”
- Telephone — 33% responded “Once a week or more but not every day.”
- Consequence of Error — 41% responded “Very serious.”
- Cramped Work Space, Awkward Positions — 49% responded “Every day.”
- Sounds, Noise Levels Are Distracting or Uncomfortable — 59% responded “Every day.”
- Coordinate or Lead Others — 45% responded “Very important.”
- Deal With Unpleasant or Angry People — 38% responded “Once a month or more but not every week.”
- Level of Competition — 27% responded “Highly competitive.”
|Title||Job Zone Three: Medium Preparation Needed|
|Education||Most occupations in this zone require training in vocational schools, related on-the-job experience, or an associate's degree.|
|Related Experience||Previous work-related skill, knowledge, or experience is required for these occupations. For example, an electrician must have completed three or four years of apprenticeship or several years of vocational training, and often must have passed a licensing exam, in order to perform the job.|
|Job Training||Employees in these occupations usually need one or two years of training involving both on-the-job experience and informal training with experienced workers. A recognized apprenticeship program may be associated with these occupations.|
|Job Zone Examples||These occupations usually involve using communication and organizational skills to coordinate, supervise, manage, or train others to accomplish goals. Examples include food service managers, electricians, agricultural technicians, legal secretaries, occupational therapy assistants, and medical assistants.|
|SVP Range||(6.0 to < 7.0)|
Percentage of Respondents
|Education Level Required|
Interest code: SRC
- Social — Social occupations frequently involve working with, communicating with, and teaching people. These occupations often involve helping or providing service to others.
- Realistic — Realistic occupations frequently involve work activities that include practical, hands-on problems and solutions. They often deal with plants, animals, and real-world materials like wood, tools, and machinery. Many of the occupations require working outside, and do not involve a lot of paperwork or working closely with others.
- Conventional — Conventional occupations frequently involve following set procedures and routines. These occupations can include working with data and details more than with ideas. Usually there is a clear line of authority to follow.
- Dependability — Job requires being reliable, responsible, and dependable, and fulfilling obligations.
- Attention to Detail — Job requires being careful about detail and thorough in completing work tasks.
- Concern for Others — Job requires being sensitive to others' needs and feelings and being understanding and helpful on the job.
- Integrity — Job requires being honest and ethical.
- Cooperation — Job requires being pleasant with others on the job and displaying a good-natured, cooperative attitude.
- Self Control — Job requires maintaining composure, keeping emotions in check, controlling anger, and avoiding aggressive behavior, even in very difficult situations.
- Social Orientation — Job requires preferring to work with others rather than alone, and being personally connected with others on the job.
- Achievement/Effort — Job requires establishing and maintaining personally challenging achievement goals and exerting effort toward mastering tasks.
- Adaptability/Flexibility — Job requires being open to change (positive or negative) and to considerable variety in the workplace.
- Independence — Job requires developing one's own ways of doing things, guiding oneself with little or no supervision, and depending on oneself to get things done.
- Initiative — Job requires a willingness to take on responsibilities and challenges.
- Stress Tolerance — Job requires accepting criticism and dealing calmly and effectively with high stress situations.
- Persistence — Job requires persistence in the face of obstacles.
- Leadership — Job requires a willingness to lead, take charge, and offer opinions and direction.
- Analytical Thinking — Job requires analyzing information and using logic to address work-related issues and problems.
- Innovation — Job requires creativity and alternative thinking to develop new ideas for and answers to work-related problems.
- Relationships — Occupations that satisfy this work value allow employees to provide service to others and work with co-workers in a friendly non-competitive environment. Corresponding needs are Co-workers, Moral Values and Social Service.
- Support — Occupations that satisfy this work value offer supportive management that stands behind employees. Corresponding needs are Company Policies, Supervision: Human Relations and Supervision: Technical.
- Independence — Occupations that satisfy this work value allow employees to work on their own and make decisions. Corresponding needs are Creativity, Responsibility and Autonomy.
Wages & Employment Trends
|Median wages (2014)||$34.38 hourly, $71,520 annual|
|Employment (2014)||201,000 employees|
|Projected growth (2014-2024)||Much faster than average (14% or higher)|
|Projected job openings (2014-2024)||70,300|
|Top industries (2014)|
Source: Bureau of Labor Statistics 2014 wage data and 2014-2024 employment projections . "Projected growth" represents the estimated change in total employment over the projections period (2014-2024). "Projected job openings" represent openings due to growth and replacement.
Job Openings on the Web
Sources of Additional Information
Disclaimer: Sources are listed to provide additional information on related jobs, specialties, and/or industries. Links to non-DOL Internet sites are provided for your convenience and do not constitute an endorsement.
- Dental hygienists . Bureau of Labor Statistics, U.S. Department of Labor. Occupational Outlook Handbook, 2016-17 Edition.
- American Dental Association (ADA) , 211 E. Chicago Ave., Suite 1814, Chicago, IL 60611. Phone: (312) 440-2500.
- American Dental Hygienists' Association (ADHA) , 444 N. Michigan Ave., Suite 3400, Chicago, IL 60611. Phone: (312) 440-8913.