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Dental Hygiene Career

Expanded Functions Dental Auxiliary Program (EFDA)

Positions Available

2-minute ADA career video

Description of Occupation - A dental hygienist is a licensed member of the dental team responsible for the preventive aspects of oral health. There are currently six interconnected roles of the dental hygienist positioning the role of public health as an integral component of the other roles of clinician, educator, researcher, administrator/manager, and advocate. Continuously one of the top 25 projected fastest growing occupations according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics.

Assessment of conditions, radiographs, dental hygiene care planning, dental hygiene treatment planning, preventive therapies, various treatment modalities, ultrasonic and hand instrumentation, polishing, application of fluoride, home care instructions, application of sealants, finishing and polishing of filling materials, and record keeping. In Pennsylvania, hygienists may become certified to administer local anesthesia. Many procedures performed may expose dental hygienists to bloodborne pathogens, potentially hazardous materials and ionizing radiation.

Candidates should be people-oriented and able to interact well with others as dentistry requires a team approach to patient care. Individuals should possess excellent communication and organizational skills. Adequate hand-eye coordination is needed to be able to perform the required fine motor skills inherent in the tasks.

Places of Employment and Outlook  Ongoing research linking oral health and general health will continue to spur the demand for preventative dental services, which are often provided by dental hygienists. Locally, most positions are part-time with full-time employment still available. Private practice, specialty practices, public health facilities, product sales, and hospital settings. With degree completion programs, other career opportunities exist in public schools, dental hygiene programs, research, and management.

Salary Ranges for Geographical Area - $60,400 median salary in Pennsylvania 2012 (BLS).  Dental hygienists may be salaried or paid hourly, daily, or on a commission basis. Benefits may be contingent upon full-time employment.

Educational Advancement - HACC has an affiliation agreement with Pennsylvania College of Technology, as well as possible transfers to other programs for bachelor's degree completion. Franklin University offers a BS in Healthcare Management and Shippensburg University offers a BS in Healthcare Administration. Immaculata University offers an accelerated BA in Health Care Management (classes in accelerated format and held at HACC's Lancaster Campus).

Related Websites For Additional Information About The Career
American Dental Hygienists' Association
Career Infonet with salary and job outlook statistics, career video and licensing requirements
American Dental Association

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