How to become a dental hygienist

You can get into this job through:

  • a university course

University

You could do either:

  • a 2-year foundation degree in oral health science
  • a 2-year diploma of higher education in dental hygiene, or dental hygiene and dental therapy
  • a 3-year degree in oral health science, or dental therapy and dental hygiene

Experience as a dental nurse may be useful. A recognised dental nurse qualification can sometimes take the place of an A level for course entry.

Entry requirements

You'll usually need:

  • 1 or 2 A levels, or equivalent, for a foundation degree or higher national diploma
  • 2 to 3 A levels, or equivalent, for a degree

More Information

More Information

Registration

Further information

You can find out more about dental hygiene careers from the British Society of Dental Hygiene & Therapy.

What it takes

Skills and knowledge

You'll need:

  • customer service skills
  • knowledge of medicine and dentistry
  • excellent verbal communication skills
  • sensitivity and understanding
  • to be thorough and pay attention to detail
  • the ability to work well with others
  • the ability to work well with your hands
  • patience and the ability to remain calm in stressful situations
  • to be able to carry out basic tasks on a computer or hand-held device

Restrictions and Requirements

You'll need to:

What you'll do

Day-to-day tasks

You'll work with children and adults, one to one and sometimes groups, advising on how to take good care of their teeth and gums. You'll also use instruments to do dental treatments.

On a daily basis you could:

  • remove plaque
  • clean and polish teeth to help prevent gum disease
  • apply fluoride and sealant treatments to reduce decay
  • give local anaesthetic under the supervision of a dentist
  • apply temporary coatings and sealants to protect teeth
  • encourage and demonstrate tooth brushing and flossing
  • sterilise equipment
  • check and maintain patient records

Working environment

You could work at a dental practice, in an NHS or private hospital or at a health centre.

You may need to wear protective clothing and a uniform.

Career path and progression

With experience, you could specialise in dealing with particular groups like people with additional needs, or move into dental practice management.

With further training you could teach student dental hygienists.

You could also move into a related area like orthodontic therapy or health promotion.

Current opportunities

Apprenticeships In England

We can't find any apprenticeship vacancies in England for a dental hygienist right now.

The Find an apprenticeship service can help you with your search, send alerts when new apprenticeships become available and has advice on how to apply.

Courses In England

Access to Social Sciences - Higher Education Diploma

  • Provider: BLACKPOOL AND THE FYLDE COLLEGE
  • Start date: 01 September 2021
  • Location: Blackpool

Level 3 Access to HE Social Work and Social Studies

  • Provider: TAMESIDE COLLEGE
  • Start date: 21 October 2020
  • Location: Ashton-Under-Lyne

Jobs In the United Kingdom

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