How to Become a Dental Hygienist


Authored by James Lachapelle in Dentistry
Published on 07-24-2009

Dental hygienists are very important individuals in dental offices and are responsible for completing various important tasks within the office. The duties of a dental hygienist will vary by location but generally include: cleaning a client’s teeth, examining the person’s teeth, mouth, and gums, and educating everyone on how to properly take care of their teeth.

It isn’t necessarily easy to become a dental hygienist but if you follow the right path you shouldn’t have too many complications. In order to work as a dental hygienist within a dentist office you will need to have an associate’s degree. If you wish to work in a school or public health program then you will need a bachelor’s degree or superior. Finding your way to become a qualified dental hygienist starts in high school though.

The first accomplishment you will have to achieve on your road to becoming a dental hygienist is to graduate from high school. During your high school years it’s helpful to take courses which relate to the dental health field. Success in various courses such as biology, health-related classes, mathematics, and chemistry can all help show excessive potential on your part for becoming a successful dental hygienist. All those courses will play a role in your acceptance into a dental hygienist program when you reach post-secondary education.

Once you have graduated from high school you will want to look for a dental hygiene program to participate in. The Commission of Dental Accreditation has certified about three hundred dental hygiene programs across the United States alone.

Once you join a dental hygiene program the early classes will be similar to the early classes in medical school. You will start off by taking classes like anatomy, microbiology, pharmacology, and chemistry. Once you complete these courses you can expect some dental related courses such as Periodontology, clinic dental hygiene, and instrumentation.

In order to be qualified for a state licensing exam you will most likely be required to graduate from a dental hygiene program. It can take anywhere from two to four years in order to complete a dental hygiene program. Once you complete the program you will want to become licensed. This exam will test you on the clinical dental hygiene and written knowledge aspects alike and plays a crucial role in your future in the dental hygiene work field.

While it does take hard work and dedication to reach the final stages of becoming a licensed dental hygienist, it’s still worth the effort. Dental hygienists get a generous salary which can be more than enough to live on and take care of your family with. If you’re serious about starting a career in the dental health field then you should definitely consider working towards becoming a dental hygienist.

The main thing to remember is to know the steps you must take in order to be qualified in your state in order to become a licensed dental hygienist. Also understand that the steps to become a dental hygienist in areas outside of the United States may be entirely different.


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