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How to Become a Dental Hygienist


A dental hygienist or a registered dental hygienist (RDH) specializes in preventive oral health & oral hygiene. There are three types of work a dental hygienist can do: maintaining oral health; helping clients develop useful habits that can prevent problems in the future; treatment - fixing existing problems. Dental hygienist helps a dentist, and sometimes makes local anesthesia, cleansing and working with patients who have periodontal disease, etc.


Job description

As mentioned above, a dental hygienist works for a dentist and has the following algorithm of actions:

  • Assess a patient. Taking x-rays, exams, history, and etc.
  • Diagnostics. Identifying the problems basing on the clinic history and examination. A diagnose and treatment still have to be approved by a dentist.
  • Making a treatment plan.
  • Carrying out all that is planned
  • Evaluation of the effectiveness of the treatment.

Study hard while still in high school

Take the following courses:

  • Biology;
  • Chemistry;
  • Mathematics.

Ask for advice

Talk to your dentist's dental hygienist and think if this is really what you want to do in life, because once you choose this path, there will be no way back (sure there will be, but you will have to take a lot of pains and start over). Google more about this job, ask your friends and people who may know something about it.

Pick a school

Go to ada.org and read more on the American Dental Association (ADA) Education Programs. It provides a list of quality schools to enter. See each school's requirements, skills you may need to work on. Send for a school catalog.


After you graduate from the dental hygienist program, you need to pass the exam in a state where you planning on working. Requirements may vary from state to state. The personal qualities you won't do without:

  • You must be very nurturing and helping;
  • Very patient and calm;
  • Must have a steady hand;
  • Must be very organized;
  • Should have strong back, neck and wrists (the work may be hard on these parts of your body)

Before you apply for a job

Remember that

  • you may need to complete 1 - 2 years of pre-requisites before you may apply;
  • be ready that you will have a great competition; the program will last 2 - 3 years (depending on which one you will choose);
  • the programs include both: lectures and practice at a clinic (2 - 3 times a week);
  • you will have to take the national dental hygiene board examination


  • Don't choose this career path if you don't have perfect manual dexterity, otherwise you may really harm a patient.
  • Don't choose this career if you don't like monotonous work.
  • Make sure this career is fulfilling for you. Don't just think about the money, think about the specifics of the job, too.



Everyone knows how important teeth care is. If your teeth aren't healthy, they may really hurt, besides, they look bad and repelling. Dentist, dental hygienist, orthodontist are great professions that let you help others. If this is what you really want to do, then be organized and you will make a great dental hygienist.

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