About Dental Hygienist Careers
Dental Hygienist are licensed dental assistants who specialize in preventive dental care. Most work with dentist in assisting with vital signs, performing oral examinations, risk assessments, radiographs, taking the patient’s history and are certified to administer anesthesia. They clean teeth and perform gum treatments along with instructing patients on proper oral care. Although most dental hygienist work in dentist offices, there are other options available. Some choose nursing homes, state health agencies, insurance companies or dental clinics. Fifty percent of dental hygienist work part time in one dental office, giving them the flexibility to work for more than just one dentist.
Training to become a dental hygienist in Portland usually takes 2 years to complete in an accredited school earning an associate in applied science degree. Prerequisite courses must be completed before approval into the dental hygienist program. Students must also provide hepatitis B, measles and tetanus vaccine reports and a TB test. Most programs require 91 credits total with 16 of those in general education and the other 75 in theory and practice of dental hygiene. Courses include dental anatomy, dental hygiene, pharmacology, radiology, periodontology, nutrition, community oral health and ethics.
Students are taught to diagnosis and treat gum diseases and other oral disorders. They will also learn how to teach patients about proper oral care. When the program has been completed the student will be prepared to take the National Dental Hygiene Board Exam for licensing. Upon receiving a satisfactory score and passing regional exams, the student is ready to obtain employment in this field.
Dental hygienist work in clean, quiet environments. Due to the procedures and treatments they do, they are required to wear protective clothing, gloves, safety goggles and masks. This is to prevent infections in the patient and also protect the hygienist.
Portland Dental Hygienist Salaries
Average salary for a dental hygienist range from $58,489 for entry level positions to $73,934 for more experienced hygienist. Benefits that dental offices usually include are 401k, health insurance, pension, sick days and vacation pay.
Dental Hygienist Schools in Portland
2004 Lloyd Center
Portland, OR 97232
Portland Community College
705 N. Killingsworth St.
Oregon Health and Science University
3181 S.W. Sam Jackson Park Rd.
Portland, Oregon 97239-3098