Dental hygienist

Alternative titles for this job include Oral health practitioner

Dental hygienists offer advice, information and treatments to prevent and treat tooth decay and gum disease.

Average salary (a year)

£24,214 Starter

to

£37,267 Experienced

Typical hours (a week)

37 to 38 a week

You could work

evenings / weekends on a rota

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 for a foundation degree or higher national diploma
  • 2 to 3 A levels 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 use dental instruments to provide treatments. On a daily basis you could be:

  • removing plaque
  • cleaning and polishing teeth to help prevent gum disease
  • applying antibacterial treatments to reduce decay
  • giving local anaesthetic under the supervision of a dentist
  • applying temporary coatings and sealants to protect teeth
  • encouraging and demonstrating tooth brushing and flossing

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 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 Science Level 3

  • Provider: Kensington and Chelsea College
  • Start date: 10 September 2019
  • Location: London

Pre-Access: Full Science

  • Provider: CITY OF LIVERPOOL COLLEGE
  • Start date: 23 September 2019
  • Location: LIVERPOOL

JobsIn the United Kingdom

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