Dental hygienists work under the supervision of a dentist to clean, remove stains and use dental instruments to perform basic procedures on patients. Additionally, dental hygienists are required to check for the possibility of oral cancer by feeling the lymph nodes to identify any swelling or tenderness that might indicate oral cancer. Dental hygienists may assist with surgery, but do not perform surgery. Dental hygienists may provide health education and clinical services to help school children maintain good dental health. Typically, dental hygienists work for dentists under general supervision. Dental hygienists work with the aging population to help keep their teeth longer and well into old age while reducing the impact of dental disease.
A dental hygienist is generally required to have an Associate’s degree or the equivalent and two to four years of experience. Applicants for a license in North Dakota must submit college transcripts and provide proof they have completed an accredited dental hygienist program. Applicants must also show they have complete the National Board exam, clinical exam as well as a North Dakota jurisprudence exam. Three letters of recommendation from dental professionals, and eye exam, physical exam and a background check are also required. Dental hygienists in North Dakota are required to maintain certification.
Dental hygienists are required to take at least two hours of CPR training every two years. It can’t be earned through home study or online courses. Additionally, applicants must take two hours worth of infection control courses every two years. Two hours of ethics and jurisprudence courses are also required of all licensed dental hygienists. Dental hygienists should keep their continuing education certificates, receipts, registration materials and other information in case they are audited. Check with the North Dakota Dental Board before taking classes to ensure they qualify for the continuing education requirement. There is a free Continuing Education Approval Form that should be completed to have a continuing education plan of study reviewed and approved.
Dental Hygienist Salary in North Dakota
Most dental hygienists in North Dakota can expect to receive below the national average salary. Salary also varies depending on the location of the dental hygienist.
- In Bismark, the average salary is approximately $62,454. The top 10 percent of earners bring in over $76,489, and the bottom 10 percent bring in less than $47,789.
- Hygienists in Dickinson earn an average of $48,683. The highest 10 percent earn more than $59,622. The lowest 10 percent earn less than $37,251.
- In Fargo, the average salary is approximately $65,174. The top 10 percent of earners bring in over $79,820, and the bottom 10 percent bring in less than $49,871.
- Hygienists in Grand Forks earn an average of $52,924. The highest 10 percent earn more than $64,817. The lowest 10 percent earn less than $49,497.
Tasks a Dental Hygienist Can Perform
The state of North Dakota limits the tasks that a dental hygienist can legally perform. Dental hygienists operate under the supervision of a certified and licensed dentist. There is a wide range of challenges that the dental hygienist must contend with. They are typically required to conduct patient screen procedures. This could include oral health condition assessment, review the health history of patients, screen for oral cancer, check the neck and head and manage dental charts, blood pressure and pulse. Additionally, dental hygienists take x-rays, remove calculus, plaque and apply materials to the teeth to prevent cavities. Impressions of the teeth are generally the dental hygienists job, as well as performing administrative, documentation and office management roles. Hygienists are also responsible for providing education to patients.
Outlook for Dental Hygienists
Dental hygienists tend to get personal satisfaction by working with patients and improving their lives. The job provides good security and the services they provide are needed and valued by a large percentage of the population. Dental health is considered an important part of good health and dental hygienists enjoy good job security. Dental hygienists must employ creativity in their jobs when dealing with a variety of patients, many of which are children. Hygienists can find employment in general dental practices, periodontics and pediatric dentistry. Hygienists also find employment in dental schools, and hospitals.
Hygienists with a high level of education may find employment teaching and working in education programs. Companies that offer dental-related materials may hire dental hygienists on a consulting basis. Some hygienists may also find employment making training videos and working in the public sector to advertise and promote a dental practice by providing free screenings and cleanings at free clinics. As there is a huge emphasis in dentistry on preventative care, hygienists are expected to be in continual demand and the job outlook for a licensed and credentialed dental hygienist is very good.