Ever wonder what life is really like as a dental hygienist? Read on to find out the good and the bad about our jobs and all our secrets!
What We Have to Know
We went through lots of training and education to get to where we are. Some dental hygienists have bachelors degrees in dental hygiene, and others have associates degrees. Either way, dental hygienists have countless hours of experience and study before becoming certified. We are prepared for any situation that might come our way, and we know how to clean both above and below the gum line. We have to know our stuff on proper oral health techniques because another big part of the job is to educate patients on how to better care for their teeth and gums. Dental Assistants assist the dentist during procedures and take x-rays, whereas hygienists work one-on-one with the patients doing cleanings, sealants, and fluoride treatments. Dental assistants are either trained on the job or go to a certificate program that is a few months long. Dental Hygiene programs in Utah colleges can be very competitive so bachelor graduates have top-of-the-line education in the field.
The median pay rate for dental hygienists in Utah is $65,866 per year. This is lower than the national average for the job, but that is mostly because of lower cost of living in Utah. The rate of pay has a range depending on the state you work in and your amount of experience between 50,000 and 80,000 a year.
The Good Parts
The pay is one of the good parts because it is a relatively low stress job for pretty good money. It is nice to not always have the doctor looking over your shoulder, and work with the patients one-on-one. It’s especially fun to see young patients when they’re excited about not having any cavities or doing well on their flossing. Because everyone needs cleanings, both young and old, we are able to get to know families quite well and do their cleanings as they grow up. Our job has great hours because we don’t have to work weekends, nights, or holidays, and it is very consistent with the amount of hours we work.
The Bad Parts
It’s never enjoyable to clean very unkempt mouths or those who haven’t been to the dentist in a very long time. Usually bad breath, lots of infection, and plaque make cleanings very difficult in those instances. Sometimes no matter how gentle you are there are patients who complain a lot or have an ornery demeanor. It could be seen as a bad thing that our job is so consistent for those who need change to keep things interesting. We do the same thing over and over again, and that’s not for everyone. Sometimes it’s hard to calm down patients who are nervous, but for the most part it’s not bad.
Why We Do It
We are here because we love our jobs, interacting with the patients, and we want you to actually like coming to the dentist. We truly believe in the importance of our jobs because without regular cleanings it is very difficult to keep infection from dominating your mouth. We want to help educate our patients on this fact as well as others that will help them to have a healthy smile for life!
Haven’t seen a dental hygienist in a while? Come in today and get a sparkley, clean smile! Click here for more information.