Are you considering a career as a dental hygienist? Current trends, competitive earnings and statistics do show promise for dental hygiene as an area of occupation.
But before you sign up for a program, you need to know more about becoming a dental hygienist. The prospects for income, demand and security might look rosy today, but do you think you are made for it? Do you look at it as a stepping stone or is being a dental hygienist a role you see for yourself for the rest of your productive years?
You have to know what it takes to be one before you make a major leap.
Many aspects of the job are so appealing that students cannot resist taking up the dental hygienist program. Here are some reasons why this coursework gets so much attention.
1. The job of a dental hygienist can usually be scheduled to give room to your other goals in life. Some work fulltime, but many work part-time with an average of 3 or 4 working days in a week. This allows you to pursue personal improvement and possible career advancement. For instance, you can devote time for a hobby, or hone writing abilities. Quality time for the home and family does not need to remain a dream any more.
2. There are currently over 181,000 dental hygienists in the country and they earn an annual median salary of $68,250. From the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) data of 2010, 10% of these practitioners earn nearly $100,000 annual median salary. That’s approximately the salary for newly-practicing physicians. Demand is foreseen to continually increase with an ageing population. In 2020, the number of dental hygienists is seen to increase by 38%.
3. Dental hygienists typically work in clean, comfortable and controlled work settings. Once the flow and nature of work is familiarized with, the job becomes relatively easy to perform and organize.
From those initial views presented, the job of a dental hygienist does seem to be a dream job. But what does the job entail on the daily basis? Here’s a quick rundown on what it is like to work as a dental hygienist.
1. The responsibilities of a dental hygienist include the need to conduct procedures that require the hygienist to use hand devices, exercise manual acuity, and perform controlled techniques on the patients’ mouth. Procedures require highly coordinated mental and manual functions, and good judgment. The problem with jobs like this is that they take time to perform, sometimes an hour in one stretch. The rigidity with which dental hygienists need to hold their bodies take the toll on their back and shoulder area. They usually call it a day with knots in their backs.
2. Don’t consider this occupation if you have a highly queasy stomach or low tolerance for stench, blood, saliva, and decayed particles in the mouth. For a job that brings health and hygiene, it doesn’t seem so clean after all.
3. Because the job is repetitive and has limited challenges, it can become dreary. Add the fact that you will be dealing with patients who are generally in pain and not in the best disposition. There are bound to be stressful days which can add to the frustration of a tedious job. If this becomes the rule rather than the exception, unremitting situations such as this may escalate to physical and emotional exhaustion and, eventually, burnout.
The role of a dental hygienist can be a meaningful one for those who know how to balance its demands with its rewards. Working long years as a hygienist may not promote you to the position of the dentist. The job may lack excitement and variety, but it could be the appropriate career if you value stability and constancy. Whether becoming a dental hygienist is a first step for you or the goal that you are aiming at, it is a career worth sinking your teeth into.