Dental Hygienists

Description

Clean teeth and examine oral areas, head, and neck for signs of oral disease. May educate patients on oral hygiene, take and develop x rays, or apply fluoride or sealants.

Tasks

  • Clean calcareous deposits, accretions, and stains from teeth and beneath margins of gums, using dental instruments.
  • Record and review patient medical histories.
  • Examine gums, using probes, to locate periodontal recessed gums and signs of gum disease.
  • Provide clinical services or health education to improve and maintain the oral health of patients or the general public.
  • Feel and visually examine gums for sores and signs of disease.
  • Expose and develop x-ray film.
  • Chart conditions of decay and disease for diagnosis and treatment by dentist.
  • Maintain dental equipment and sharpen and sterilize dental instruments.
  • Apply fluorides or other cavity preventing agents to arrest dental decay.
  • Feel lymph nodes under patient's chin to detect swelling or tenderness that could indicate presence of oral cancer.
  • Maintain patient recall system.
  • Remove excess cement from coronal surfaces of teeth.
  • Administer local anesthetic agents.
  • Conduct dental health clinics for community groups to augment services of dentist.
  • Remove sutures and dressings.
  • Make impressions for study casts.
  • Place and remove rubber dams, matrices, and temporary restorations.

Knowledge

Medicine and Dentistry
Knowledge of the information and techniques needed to diagnose and treat human injuries, diseases, and deformities. This includes symptoms, treatment alternatives, drug properties and interactions, and preventive health-care measures.
Psychology
Knowledge of human behavior and performance; individual differences in ability, personality, and interests; learning and motivation; psychological research methods; and the assessment and treatment of behavioral and affective disorders.
Customer and Personal Service
Knowledge of principles and processes for providing customer and personal services. This includes customer needs assessment, meeting quality standards for services, and evaluation of customer satisfaction.
Education and Training
Knowledge of principles and methods for curriculum and training design, teaching and instruction for individuals and groups, and the measurement of training effects.
English Language
Knowledge of the structure and content of the English language including the meaning and spelling of words, rules of composition, and grammar.
Chemistry
Knowledge of the chemical composition, structure, and properties of substances and of the chemical processes and transformations that they undergo. This includes uses of chemicals and their interactions, danger signs, production techniques, and disposal methods.

Skills

Active Listening
Giving full attention to what other people are saying, taking time to understand the points being made, asking questions as appropriate, and not interrupting at inappropriate times.
Speaking
Talking to others to convey information effectively.
Writing
Communicating effectively in writing as appropriate for the needs of the audience.
Coordination
Adjusting actions in relation to others' actions.
Critical Thinking
Using logic and reasoning to identify the strengths and weaknesses of alternative solutions, conclusions or approaches to problems.
Reading Comprehension
Understanding written sentences and paragraphs in work related documents.
Active Learning
Understanding the implications of new information for both current and future problem-solving and decision-making.

Abilities

Oral Comprehension
The ability to listen to and understand information and ideas presented through spoken words and sentences.
Oral Expression
The ability to communicate information and ideas in speaking so others will understand.
Problem Sensitivity
The ability to tell when something is wrong or is likely to go wrong. It does not involve solving the problem, only recognizing there is a problem.
Finger Dexterity
The ability to make precisely coordinated movements of the fingers of one or both hands to grasp, manipulate, or assemble very small objects.
Arm-Hand Steadiness
The ability to keep your hand and arm steady while moving your arm or while holding your arm and hand in one position.
Near Vision
The ability to see details at close range (within a few feet of the observer).

Work Activities

Performing for or Working Directly with the Public
Performing for people or dealing directly with the public. This includes serving customers in restaurants and stores, and receiving clients or guests.
Documenting/Recording Information
Entering, transcribing, recording, storing, or maintaining information in written or electronic/magnetic form.
Assisting and Caring for Others
Providing personal assistance, medical attention, emotional support, or other personal care to others such as coworkers, customers, or patients.
Establishing and Maintaining Interpersonal Relationships
Developing constructive and cooperative working relationships with others, and maintaining them over time.
Identifying Objects, Actions, and Events
Identifying information by categorizing, estimating, recognizing differences or similarities, and detecting changes in circumstances or events.
Updating and Using Relevant Knowledge
Keeping up-to-date technically and applying new knowledge to your job.
Monitor Processes, Materials, or Surroundings
Monitoring and reviewing information from materials, events, or the environment, to detect or assess problems.

Work Context

Wear Common Protective or Safety Equipment such as Safety Shoes, Glasses, Gloves, Hearing Protection, Hard Hats, or Life Jackets
How much does this job require wearing common protective or safety equipment such as safety shoes, glasses, gloves, hard hats or life jackets?
Spend Time Using Your Hands to Handle, Control, or Feel Objects, Tools, or Controls
How much does this job require using your hands to handle, control, or feel objects, tools or controls?
Spend Time Making Repetitive Motions
How much does this job require making repetitive motions?
Exposed to Disease or Infections
How often does this job require exposure to disease/infections?
Physical Proximity
To what extent does this job require the worker to perform job tasks in close physical proximity to other people?
Contact With Others
How much does this job require the worker to be in contact with others (face-to-face, by telephone, or otherwise) in order to perform it?
Frequency of Decision Making
How frequently is the worker required to make decisions that affect other people, the financial resources, and/or the image and reputation of the organization?
Indoors, Environmentally Controlled
How often does this job require working indoors in environmentally controlled conditions?
Face-to-Face Discussions
How often do you have to have face-to-face discussions with individuals or teams in this job?
Exposed to Radiation
How often does this job require exposure to radiation?

Interests

Social
Social occupations frequently involve working with, communicating with, and teaching people. These occupations often involve helping or providing service to others.
Realistic
Realistic occupations frequently involve work activities that include practical, hands-on problems and solutions. They often deal with plants, animals, and real-world materials like wood, tools, and machinery. Many of the occupations require working outside, and do not involve a lot of paperwork or working closely with others.
Conventional
Conventional occupations frequently involve following set procedures and routines. These occupations can include working with data and details more than with ideas. Usually there is a clear line of authority to follow.
Investigative
Investigative occupations frequently involve working with ideas, and require an extensive amount of thinking. These occupations can involve searching for facts and figuring out problems mentally.
Enterprising
Enterprising occupations frequently involve starting up and carrying out projects. These occupations can involve leading people and making many decisions. Sometimes they require risk taking and often deal with business.
Artistic
Artistic occupations frequently involve working with forms, designs and patterns. They often require self-expression and the work can be done without following a clear set of rules.

Work Style

Dependability
Job requires being reliable, responsible, and dependable, and fulfilling obligations.
Integrity
Job requires being honest and ethical.
Attention to Detail
Job requires being careful about detail and thorough in completing work tasks.
Cooperation
Job requires being pleasant with others on the job and displaying a good-natured, cooperative attitude.
Self Control
Job requires maintaining composure, keeping emotions in check, controlling anger, and avoiding aggressive behavior, even in very difficult situations.
Concern for Others
Job requires being sensitive to others' needs and feelings and being understanding and helpful on the job.
Social Orientation
Job requires preferring to work with others rather than alone, and being personally connected with others on the job.
Independence
Job requires developing one's own ways of doing things, guiding oneself with little or no supervision, and depending on oneself to get things done.
Stress Tolerance
Job requires accepting criticism and dealing calmly and effectively with high stress situations.
Initiative
Job requires a willingness to take on responsibilities and challenges.

Work Values

Relationships
Occupations that satisfy this work value allow employees to provide service to others and work with co-workers in a friendly non-competitive environment. Corresponding needs are Co-workers, Moral Values and Social Service.
Support
Occupations that satisfy this work value offer supportive management that stands behind employees. Corresponding needs are Company Policies, Supervision: Human Relations and Supervision: Technical.
Independence
Occupations that satisfy this work value allow employees to work on their own and make decisions. Corresponding needs are Creativity, Responsibility and Autonomy.
Working Conditions
Occupations that satisfy this work value offer job security and good working conditions. Corresponding needs are Activity, Compensation, Independence, Security, Variety and Working Conditions.
Achievement
Occupations that satisfy this work value are results oriented and allow employees to use their strongest abilities, giving them a feeling of accomplishment. Corresponding needs are Ability Utilization and Achievement.
Recognition
Occupations that satisfy this work value offer advancement, potential for leadership, and are often considered prestigious. Corresponding needs are Advancement, Authority, Recognition and Social Status.

Lay Titles

Dental Hygienist
Dental Nurse
Hygienist
Oral Hygienist
Registered Dental Hygienist (RDH)

National Wages and Employment Info

Median Wages (2008):
$33.75 hourly, $70,210 annual.
Employment (2008):
190,290 employees