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Dental Hygienist: Advantages and Disadvantages



The role of a dental hygienist is key to a well-functioning dental office. Whether there is a presiding dentist or not, the dental hygienist holds many responsibilities that define the practice. A dental hygienist improves a patient’s life through direct action and education. This indispensable role has many advantages but also some drawbacks. If you’re considering the position as a career, you should know the ups and downs.


The Advantages


An Excellent Salary

One of the first things people consider when looking for careers is the salary. Dental hygienists shine here. According to the US Bureau of Labor Statistics, the average salary for a dental hygienist is $76,220 per year for full-time workers. That comes down to roughly $36.60 per hour. If a dental hygienist works on an hourly basis, they essentially choose how much money they make. Dental hygienists can work a traditional 40-hour workweek, or they can work far fewer hours and still receive high wages.


Limited Education Required

To qualify as a dental hygienist, prospective professionals typically only need an associate’s degree in the field. Unlike practicing as a dentist or a doctor, students do not need to spend years pursuing medical school or dental school. Rather, a dental hygienist’s education usually requires about 3 years to complete.


Meaningful Work

For those interested in giving back, working as a dental hygienist allows you just that. A dental hygienist provides services and treatments which improve the oral health of their patients. This can give professionals a sense of meaning in their work. Furthermore, dental hygienists provide education on oral health. They may go to schools or other clinics to teach individuals and children on the importance of maintaining good oral health. Thus, they’re actively helping others.


Positive Career Outlook

The field of dental hygiene is set to grow. From 2018 to 2028, the US Bureau of Labor expects to see an 11% growth in the field. Individuals considering a career in dental hygiene can feel confident there will be jobs in the future.


The Disadvantages


Potential Burnout

One of the biggest downfalls of working as a dental hygienist is the potential for burnout. Some professionals may find providing the same treatment to be boring. Although each day has variety within it, professionals perform similar treatments daily. Additionally, some dental hygienists may feel overworked. Depending on the practice you work in, you may hold many responsibilities. Some dental hygienists handle many patients each day, causing them to complete many activities back to back without breaks.


Negative Patient Experiences

Another downside of working as a dental hygienist is the potential of interacting with disrespectful patients. Many patients either fear or simply dislike getting their teeth cleaned and worked on. When patients do not cooperate or have extremely poor dental health, hygienists may face unpleasant experiences. Similarly, you may see some patients that you have repeatedly educated only to see they haven’t followed your recommendations. This can cause genuine disappointment as you feel your hard work is going undervalued or unappreciated by your patients.


Overall, the advantages of becoming a dental hygienist outweigh the disadvantages. Think about the excellent and stable income with limited education required. To start your way in becoming a dental hygienist with peace of mind knowing that you will easily be able to find job options, fill out our form or download our app to join the Stynt Network!