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Dental hygienists provide clinical care as well as information on good oral health to individuals and groups of patients. They work under the instruction of dentists to help prevent dental problems as well as educate the public about the proper maintenance and care of their teeth.

As a dental hygienist, you would use a range of dental instruments to remove plaque, polish and scale teeth to help prevent gum and other diseases, give local anaestethtic under the supervision of a registered dentist, apply coatings and sealings as well as educate patients about good oral hygiene.

Its necessary for the dental hygienist to maintain a safe and sanitary environment, and some dental hygienists are asked to perform xrays from time to time. For some procedures, a dental nurse may support you. Work could be done in general practice, the community dental service, and in hospitals.

What do I need to become a dental hygenist?

Before you can work as a dental hygienist, you need to possess a foundation degree in oral health science; such a degree can be obtained in 2 years, and the names of these degrees vary. Check with your local educational institution about which classes are required for these degrees.

If youve worked in any area of the dental field before, this experience could give you an advantage when its time to take dental hygienist courses and also for job placement. Be prepared to also receive a Criminal Records Bureau clearance because of the community based nature of your job.

Once I am enrolled in school to become a dental hygienist, whats next?

While getting your education, you will spend time on clinical work placements as well as at college or university studying subjects such as anatomy and physiology, orthodontics, dental radiography and oral health.

After I graduate, then what?

After you have completed your schooling, its mandatory to register with the General Dental Council (GDC). Dental hygienists must complete 150 hours of career development courses every five years. Some ways to complete these hours can include classroom time and attending dental conferences.

There are other jobs within the dental health area you consider see our Dental Technician job profile.

We also have links to a range of UK health sites that could also help you make the right career choice see our current list of health care sites where we aim to provide links to associations and government backed sites.

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