Dental Hygienists: Main Duties and Responsibilities (00:34)
Valerie Heywood cleans patients' teeth, takes dental x-rays, performs periodontal screenings, and supports dental staff.
Dental Hygienists: Career Beginnings (00:37)
Heywood's mother introduced the idea of becoming a dental hygienist. She considered the two year associates program a short path to making better money.
Dental Hygienists: Keys for Success (00:46)
Successful hygienists need to be sympathetic, empathetic, and compassionate with patients. Be a team player.
Dental Hygienists: Education and Certification Requirements (00:39)
Hygienists need to earn an Associate's of Applied Science: Dental Hygiene degree, pass a board exam, obtain a certification in radiology and CPR, and continue education every two years. Pennsylvania allows hygienists to earn a license in local anesthesia.
Dental Hygienists: Workplace Atmosphere (00:54)
Heywood works eight hours a day, Monday through Friday in a private practice. Hygienists can work part-time or through a temp agency. The environment can be stressful, but spending time with patients is rewarding.
Dental Hygienists: Advice for Aspiring Pros (00:49)
Hygienists need to be able to do a difficult, dirty job without being judgmental. Visit a dental office, shadow a professional, or get a job as a dental assistant.
Dental Hygienists: Day on the Job (01:06)
Heywood typically sees 12 patients a day. She performs any necessary x-rays, cleans teeth, and assists the dentist during the exam. She provides home care as needed, cleans instruments, and assists at the front desk.
Dental Hygienists: Industry Goals and Services (00:49)
Dentistry's main goal is to provide good oral health. Hygienists help prevent and treat gingivitis and periodontitis through patient cleanings and education.
Dental Hygienists: Industry Challenges (00:49)
The biggest challenges for a hygienist are physical; use good ergonomics. Dental insurance provides low reimbursement which can prevent dentists from keeping a full-time hygienist on staff.
Dental Hygienists: Looking at the Future (01:44)
Heywood believes the industry will look similar to the present, but hygienists may expand their expertise and independence. Technology advancements will help make data recording and sharing more efficient.
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