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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

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Tasks  |  Tools & Technology  |  Knowledge  |  Skills  |  Abilities  |  Work Activities  |  Work Context  |  Job Zone  |  Education  |  Interests  |  Work Styles  |  Work Values  |  Related Occupations  |  Wages & Employment  |  Job Openings  |  Additional Information

Tasks

  • 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.

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Tools & Technology

Tools used in this occupation:

Dental lasers — Caries detection aids; Neodymium-doped Yttrium Aluminum Garnet Nd:YAG dental lasers
Dental probes — Calculus explorers; Caries explorers; Nabers furcation probes; Periodontal probes
Dental scalers or accessories — Hand scalers; Hollow handle scalars; Solid handle scalars; Ultrasonic scalers
Dental x ray units — Dental x ray machines; Digital dental x ray units; Panoramic dental x ray units; Portable dental x ray units
Teeth cleaning devices or accessories — Air-driven dental polishers; Air/water syringes; Dental polishers; Motor-driven dental polishers

Technology used in this occupation:

Accounting software — Dental billing software
Electronic mail software — Email software
Internet browser software — Web browser software
Medical software — Dental charting software; Dental office management software; Henry Schein Dentrix software; Voice-activated perio charting software
Word processing software

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Knowledge

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.

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Skills

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.

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Abilities

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.

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Work Activities

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.

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Work Context

Contact With Others — How much does this job require the worker to be in contact with others (face-to-face, by telephone, or otherwise) in order to perform it?
Exposed to Disease or Infections — How often does this job require exposure to disease/infections?
Physical Proximity — To what extent does this job require the worker to perform job tasks in close physical proximity to other people?
Wear Common Protective or Safety Equipment such as Safety Shoes, Glasses, Gloves, Hearing Protection, Hard Hats, or Life Jackets — How much does this job require wearing common protective or safety equipment such as safety shoes, glasses, gloves, hard hats or life jackets?
Spend Time Using Your Hands to Handle, Control, or Feel Objects, Tools, or Controls — How much does this job require using your hands to handle, control, or feel objects, tools or controls?
Face-to-Face Discussions — How often do you have to have face-to-face discussions with individuals or teams in this job?
Indoors, Environmentally Controlled — How often does this job require working indoors in environmentally controlled conditions?
Spend Time Making Repetitive Motions — How much does this job require making repetitive motions?
Exposed to Radiation — How often does this job require exposure to radiation?
Work With Work Group or Team — How important is it to work with others in a group or team in this job?

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Job Zone

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, interviewers, and insurance sales agents.
SVP Range (6.0 to < 7.0)

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Education


Percentage of Respondents
Education Level Required
79   Associate's degree
21   Bachelor's degree
  Post-baccalaureate certificate Help

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Interests

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.

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Work Styles

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.

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Work Values

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.

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Related Occupations

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Wages & Employment Trends

National

Median wages (2012) $33.75 hourly, $70,210 annual
Employment (2012) 193,000 employees
Projected growth (2012-2022) Much faster than average (22% or higher) Much faster than average (22% or higher)
Projected job openings (2012-2022) 113,500
Top industries (2012)

State & National

          CareerOneStop

Source: Bureau of Labor Statistics 2012 wage data external site and 2012-2022 employment projections external site. "Projected growth" represents the estimated change in total employment over the projections period (2012-2022). "Projected job openings" represent openings due to growth and replacement.

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Job Openings on the Web

Find Jobs
for Dental Hygienists

          mySkills myFuture

State & National Job Banks

          CareerOneStop

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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.

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