Dentistry has undergone massive transformation with the public becoming aware about smile perfections, orthodontic corrections and hygiene. A career profile of a dental hygienist is exceptionally niche and is a sharp contrast from the traditional dental practice in private offices. According to NHS Careers (2014), dental hygienists are also known as oral health practitioners and mainly perform teeth scaling and polishing. They also help patients undergoing surgery or complex orthodontic treatment. Entry requirements usually include an accredited dental nursing qualification. A dental hygienist must have pursued a course approved by the General Dental Council or similar dental Councils (as cited in NHS Careers, 2014). The starting pay scale of a dental hygienist is usually over £21,388 per annum. A candidate willing to pursue a career in this field should be interested in science, anatomy and physiology. They must have ‘people skill’ and should be able to encourage clients to work on their dental hygiene. Teamwork skills and concentration are the basic requirements in this profession (as cited in National Careers Service, 2014).
Post graduation, one can start working as a trainee and efficiently practice dental radiography and several other practices to prevent gum and tooth decay. From a trainee, a candidate can be directly promoted to a professional dental hygienist. Training periods are usually paid. An experienced dental hygienist can pursue teaching in dental colleges or work as orthodontic therapists/managers. Orthodontic therapists assist patients in emergency and require an individual to be trained in dental nursing, dental hygiene, dental therapy/dental technology and possess abundant professional experience (as cited in NHS Careers, 2014).
However, as one gains experience as a dental hygienist, they can successfully join as an instructor for training courses. This is prestigious and doesn’t usually come in with the ‘average-image’ of a dental hygienist. A Virginia based dental hygienist was quoted in Hartley (2013) stating that being a dental hygienist is more like having a part-time job devoid of any benefits or insurance plans.
Hartley, M. (2013, March 18). Job benefits for dental hygienists: Part 2. DentistryiQ. Retrieved from: http://www.dentistryiq.com/articles/2013/03/job-benefits-for-dental-hygienists-part-2.html?cmpid=diqsurvey2013.
NHS Careers. (2014). Dental Hygienist. Retrieved from: http://www.nhscareers.nhs.uk/explore-by-career/dental-team/careers-in-the-dental-team/dental-hygienist/.
National Careers Service. (2014). Dental Hygienist. Retrieved from: https://nationalcareersservice.direct.gov.uk/advice/planning/jobprofiles/Pages/dentalhygienist.aspx.