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How to Become a Dental Hygienist in Florida

When starting a career as a dental hygienist in Florida, there are a myriad of things that you will have to take into account in order to make it at this position. The following guide will give you a brief look at all you need to know about becoming a dental hygienist in Florida, as well as the job duties that you will be provided with once you have obtained a position as a dental hygienist.

Dental Hygienist Requirements

A dental hygienist will be required to give an in-depth cleaning of a persons teeth, among other tasks. As such, you will need to have great people skills and must be able to calm the nerves of all patients, while also teaching them how to best clean their teeth and practice proper oral health procedures when at home. As with most professions, there will also be education and training required, all of which will be given further explanation within the following.

Prior Education and Training Required

A prospective dental hygienist must undergo a decent amount of education and training before having the ability to be hired at a dental institution. In general, only a dental hygienist certificate program, which typically takes 2-3 years to fully complete, or its equivalent in an Associate’s degree in health science, is required in order to become a qualified dental hygienist.

However, earning a Bachelor’s or even a Master’s degree in the dental field will provide some fantastic opportunities later in a persons career, as well as helping to make any job search much easier. The latter two of these degrees will give dental hygienists the opportunity of earning a position in dental hygiene research or teaching. All degrees must be accredited by the Commission on Dental Accreditation of the American Dental Association.

Does a Dental Hygienist Need to be Certified

It is a requirement for all prospective dental hygienists to pass a certification exam to become fully certified, or licensed, as this is the only way in which they will be able to work as a dental hygienist.

How Can a Dental Hygienist Become Certified

To become certified, any one of the exams mentioned previously will allow you to take the exam upon completion, while you can also opt for taking a dental hygienist certification program before taking the exam. These programs must be accredited by CODA, also known as the Commission on Dental Accreditation. The exam itself will test students on their knowledge of dental hygiene, as well as their ability to handle real-life situations, which are utilized through a written portion and a practical portion. Once you have passed this exam, you are now a fully certified dental hygienist.

Is Continuing Education Necessary

Continuing education is a requirement in order to maintain your license as a dental hygienist. A person will need to renew their license every two years in Florida, which calls for the completion of a CPR course, as well as 24 hours of continuing education.

Dental Hygienist Salary in Florida

When taking a glance at the possible salary for a dental hygienist, it’s important to understand that salary can differ greatly depending on the training level and work experience of someone in this position. However, when starting out, you should expect a yearly salary that ranges anywhere from just over $50,000 to around $80,000 at the highest, with the median salary resting at close to $66,000. While this is slightly below the national average, it’s still more than respectable for someone in this position.

Dental Hygienist Job Duties

A dental hygienist will need to prepare the treatment room and the patient for the upcoming procedure, as well as answering questions that any patients may have. They will also be required to select the materials used in the procedure and will be tasked with cleaning the stains and deposits of a patients teeth. While these are the most common job duties, a dental hygienist will also be tasked with detecting disease within the teeth and gums, assisting the dentist with anything they need, educating patients on proper oral hygiene and keeping documentation of the dental supplies inventory, among a few other tasks.

What Tasks are a Dental Hygienist Legally Allowed to Perform

When working as a dental hygienist within the state of Florida, some dental tasks are allowed, while others are prohibited. For instance, all of the job duties mentioned previously are entirely legal for any dental hygienist to perform, while Gingival curettage, root planning, diagnosis and local anesthesia are not, as well as taking impressions for orthodontic appliance and intraoral restorations. Aside from these few restrictions, there are a vast amount of 70 total tasks that a dental hygienist is allowed to perform.