As part of dental office teams, dental hygienists perform many duties including cleaning and examining patient’s teeth, checking cavities and gum diseases as well as removing plaque. The requirements for dental hygienists vary by state. However, in New Hampshire, dental hygienists are expected to be trained and properly licensed before practicing.
Dental Hygiene Training
Aspiring dental hygienists are required to obtain thorough education from accredited universities or colleges in order to become dental hygienists. A certificate or associate’s degree program may take two years to complete, or less with full time study. You may enhance your two-year degree study by pursuing a four-year bachelor’s degree program in dental hygiene. Dental hygiene education is designed to prepare you for hands-on clinical training once you graduate. If you wish to pursue advanced education in dental hygiene, you may go on to complete a master’s degree program in dental hygiene.
States require dental hygienists to become certified before they can practice dental hygiene. The Joint Commission on National Dental Examination and the American Dental Association administer written exams that are accepted by all 50 states and the District of Columbia. In addition, most states administer independent clinical exams to evaluate candidates’ skills and abilities. Candidates who pass both portions of the exams become licensed to practice.
In addition to the written and clinical examinations required to become a certified dental hygienist, you may also be required to sit for an additional exam to test your knowledge on legal aspects of dental hygiene practice such as confidentiality and the rights of patients.
A high school diploma and acceptable college entrance test scores are required to be admitted into a dental hygiene degree program. If you plan to pursue dental hygiene, make sure you include biology, chemistry and mathematics in your coursework. In addition, it may be helpful to have good manual dexterity and ability to manipulate dental tools and instruments.
What Is the Role of a Dental Hygienist?
This is one of the main roles of dental hygienists. Cleaning in dental hygiene involves removing plaque, deposits and tartar from patients’ teeth using various dental instruments.
Explaining Good Oral Health
Dental hygienists occasionally explain proper flossing and brushing techniques. They also describe basic dental procedures, teeth anatomy and recommend treatments for dental problems.
Dental hygienists in New Hampshire are allowed to do more than teeth cleaning. They may remove stitches, administer anesthesia, take x-rays and perform temporary fillings.
Like other medical professionals, dental hygienists are required to wear safety goggles, facial masks and medical gloves to protect them from contracting infectious diseases that could be transmitted from patients.
Dental Hygienist Salary in New Hampshire
New Hampshire has one of the highest job concentrations of dental hygienists. Dental hygienists employed in New Hampshire earn salaries ranging from $59,640 to $73,870. The hourly wages of dental hygienists practicing in New Hampshire range from $28 to $35.
How to Become a Certified Dental Hygienist in New Hampshire
• Enroll in a dental hygiene program. Many options are available for prospective dental hygienists including certificate, associate degree and bachelor’s degree programs. Certificate and associate degree programs take two years to complete while bachelor’s degree programs take four years to complete. Many dental hygienists pursue associate or bachelor degree programs.
• Earn state certification.
• Look for study guide materials from New Hampshire. The state offers sample tests and other references to help dental hygienists to prepare for state licensing exams.
• Plan to recertify. After obtaining your dental hygiene certification, you are required to recertify every other year. You may also pursue advanced education including bachelors or master’s degree programs in dental hygiene.
Dental hygienists are very significant in the medical industry. These professionals perform many tasks including making assessments, cleaning and evaluating patients’ dental problems and teaching patients about dental care.
Dental hygienists can work in both private and public dental practice settings including research hospitals, schools, dental corporations, research facilities and hospitals. Dental hygiene is one of the fastest growing careers today. Dental hygienists have flexible working hours and many health institutions allow dental hygienists to work days that fit their personal schedules. In addition, dental hygienists receive good benefits packages such as paid holidays, retirement plans, vacation and sick leave.