Are you looking for a career that is in high demand? Dental hygiene may be right for you. According to the Canadian Dental Hygienists Association, the unemployment rate for dental hygienists across Canada is only 1.3%, well below the country’s overall unemployment rate of 6.5%. Clearly, dental hygienists have few problems finding employment.
If you’re considering a career in dental hygiene, you might be curious about what responsibilities dental hygienists typically have. You may even wonder if your future career will only consist of buffing teeth all day! Well, you can rest assured that dental hygiene is far more varied and exciting than that. Let’s look at what a day in your life as a dental hygienist would look like.
Your Morning Routine as a Dental Hygienist
You’ll arrive at work about a half hour before the first patient. During this time, you will be expected to review charts and medical histories of the patients who are scheduled for the day. This will help you understand what each patient will need and how long each appointment is likely to take.
You’ll be looking for key information about the patient’s dental history, including their last check-up, any emergency or preventative treatments they’ve had, and if they suffer from any health problems that you and the dentist should know about.
Afterwards, you’ll work with the rest of the staff to determine the day’s strategy and assign individual tasks. Finally, you’ll set up the treatment room by ensuring all surfaces are clean and that all tools and equipment that you and the dentist may need are easily accessible.
Putting Your Diploma in Dental Hygiene to Work
Many patients, especially young children, are going to be nervous about their visit, and a key part of your job as a dental hygienist will be to speak with them and ask questions about their lives. By making conversation with nervous patients, you’ll be helping to lower their blood pressure and make the visit more comfortable for them.
Dental hygienists ensure nervous patients are comfortable and feel at ease during their visit
Going over each patient’s dental history with them will be an important part of your job, since you’ll need to find out if they have had any issues with their teeth or gums. Next, you’ll begin treatment. Your dental hygienist course will prepare you with the skills needed to perform a wide range of treatments, including removing stains, cleaning the gums, taking dental impressions or x-rays, and more. The exact treatments you’ll perform will vary depending on the patient.
Once you are done treating the patient, the dentist will come in to perform an examination. He or she will discuss the patient’s oral hygiene and determine what additional care, if any, is needed. The dentist will also discuss with the patient any diagnoses or health issues that may have been uncovered. It’s the dental hygienist’s job to ensure the patient understands what the dentist is telling them.
You’ll also be tasked with instructing patients on the at-home oral hygiene procedures they should be doing. Your dental hygienist program will provide you with an extensive knowledge of the oral hygiene best practices you’ll teach to patients.
Discussing oral care treatment with patients is a key skill you will learn in a dental hygiene program
Cleaning Up the Dental Office at the End of the Day
After the last patient leaves, you and the rest of the dental office staff will work together to make sure the office is cleaned and ready for the next day.
As you can see, life as a dental hygienist is quite exciting and fast-paced. Each day is full of variety and you’ll be able to put many of the different skills you’ll learn throughout your training to good use.
Are you interested in pursuing a dental hygienist career?
Contact Oxford College to learn how you can earn your Diploma in Dental Hygiene.