Dental hygienists are healthcare professionals who work in a variety of settings. They help patients take care of their oral health and prevent dental problems from developing, such as tooth decay and gum disease. The majority of dental hygienist jobs are in dentists’ offices, but some work for government agencies or private businesses. They are also known as RDHs (registered dental hygienists).

Hygienist duties include removing tartar, stains and plaque from teeth; applying fluoride and sealant to protect and strengthen teeth; and assessing patient needs and documenting their oral health. They also perform X-rays, which are crucial for diagnosing dental issues. In some cases, a hygienist may even perform minor procedures like scaling and root planing, which is the process of removing bacterial deposits from deep in the gums.

Many states require a dental hygiene associate degree or higher from an accredited school before hygienists can become licensed to practice. SJVC offers an accredited dental hygiene program that prepares students to pass both the national written and state or regional board exam, and to become a registered dental hygienist.

Dental hygienists need to be comfortable working with others and displaying a positive attitude. They should enjoy learning new skills and be flexible in their job responsibilities and schedules. They should also have excellent communication skills, as they frequently work closely with patients and other healthcare professionals. If you’re interested in becoming a dental hygienist, we recommend contacting local dentists’ offices to find out if they are hiring.