About Dental Hygienist Careers
Dental Hygienists are considered to be professionals in the dental care field and will often work directly with dentists, dental assistants, and dental technicians. Dental Hygienists perform routine and sometimes advanced dental procedures. Some of the many functions they may perform include cleaning and polishing teeth, examining teeth and gum health for signs of disease and corrosion, removing plaque build-up and stains, taking and developing dental x-rays, preparing diagnostic tests, processing patient screenings, and teaching proper oral hygiene and preventative care. Hygienists will often support the dentist during procedures, such as by administering anesthesia. They are also trained to work with various forms of dental machinery and equipment, such as those used for teeth cleaning.
A dental hygienist in St. Louis, Missouri receives an average salary of approximately $60,000. This is the entry-level average salary with an Associates degree, working in the private sector. As experience increases, or if you receive a higher level of degree or certification, such as a Bachelors or Masters degree, this salary will increase as well, with the higher percentile making approximately $80,000.
According to the U.S. Dept. of Labor, the dental hygiene profession is projected to be one of the fastest-growing professions through 2012. This is mainly due to the increase in demand for dental care as the population grows, and therefore will create a higher demand for hygienists to perform procedures that used to be done by the dentists.
The majority of dental hygienists receive an associate’s degree to practice.
These programs are typically two years in length, and often the second half of the curriculum will include experiential education including hands on practice in clinical environments. Based on the level of expertise necessary to perform the duties of a dental hygienist, the two-year associate’s degree programs most often will fully prepare an individual for the job. There are many schools that offer programs specifically for dental hygiene. The most important choice in deciding on which school to choose is to ensure that they are accredited by the Commission on Dental Accreditation (CODA) of the American Dental Association (ADA). This accreditation allows dental hygiene graduates the opportunity to take the National Board Licensure Examination when they finish their degree. The examination is purely voluntary but could add to salary earning potential.
St. Louis Dental Hygienist Schools
St. Louis Community College – Forest Park
5600 Oakland Ave.
St. Louis, MO 63110
1405 South Hanley Road
Brentwood, MO 63144