Growth Trends for Related Jobs

Dental Hygienists

What Dental Hygienists Do

Dental hygienists clean teeth, examine patients for signs of oral diseases such as gingivitis, and provide other preventive dental care. They also educate patients on ways to improve and maintain good oral health.

Work Environment

In 2014, almost all dental hygienists worked in dentists’ offices, and more than half worked part time.

How to Become a Dental Hygienist

Dental hygienists need an associate’s degree in dental hygiene. Programs typically take 3 years to complete. All states require dental hygienists to be licensed; requirements vary by state.

Job Outlook

Employment of dental hygienists is projected to grow 19 percent from 2014 to 2024, much faster than the average for all occupations. Ongoing research linking oral health to general health will continue to spur demand for preventive dental services, which are provided by dental hygienists.

Growth & Trends

This occupation supported 192,800 jobs in 2012 and 200,500 jobs in 2014, reflecting an increase of 4.0%. In 2012, this occupation was projected to increase by 33.2% in 2022 to 256,899 jobs. As of 2014, to keep pace with prediction, the expected number of jobs was 205,600, compared with an observed value of 200,500, 2.5% lower than expected. This indicates current employment trends are worse than the 2012 trend within this occupation. In 2014, this occupation was projected to increase by 19.4% in 2024 to 237,900 jobs. Linear extrapolation of the 2012 projection for 2022 results in an expected number of 269,700 jobs for 2024, 13.4% higher than the 2014 projection for 2024. This indicates expectations for future employment trends are much worse than the 2012 trend within this occupation.

Dental Hygienists Employment and Labor Information 2023

Dental Hygienists Employment Brief:

Administer oral hygiene care to patients. Assess patient oral hygiene problems or needs and maintain health records. Advise patients on oral health maintenance and disease prevention. May provide advanced care such as providing fluoride treatment or administering topical anesthesia.

Dental Hygienists Job Description

Here is a Job Description an employer might post for potential Dental Hygienists.

Dental Hygienists Responsibilities and Duties:

  • Attend continuing education courses to maintain or update skills.
  • Place and remove rubber dams, matrices, and temporary restorations.
  • Remove sutures and dressings.
  • Remove excess cement from coronal surfaces of teeth.
  • Maintain dental equipment and sharpen and sterilize dental instruments.
  • Feel lymph nodes under patient's chin to detect swelling or tenderness that could indicate presence of oral cancer.
  • Make impressions for study casts.
  • Chart conditions of decay and disease for diagnosis and treatment by dentist.
  • Feel and visually examine gums for sores and signs of disease.
  • Clean calcareous deposits, accretions, and stains from teeth and beneath margins of gums, using dental instruments.

Typical Daily Tasks of Dental Hygienists:

  • Establishing and Maintaining Interpersonal Relationships.
  • Assisting and Caring for Others: Administer anesthetics or sedatives to control pain. Treat acute illnesses, infections, or injuries. Treat dental problems or diseases.
  • Performing for or Working Directly with the Public.
  • Documenting/Recording Information: Record patient medical histories.
  • Making Decisions and Solving Problems.
  • Updating and Using Relevant Knowledge: Attend training sessions or professional meetings to develop or maintain professional knowledge. Maintain current knowledge related to work activities.
  • Interpreting the Meaning of Information for Others.
  • Communicating with Supervisors, Peers, or Subordinates.
  • Handling and Moving Objects: Adjust dental devices or appliances to ensure fit. Fabricate medical devices.
  • Getting Information.

Dental Hygienists Skills and Requirements:

  • Quality Control Analysis Conducting tests and inspections of products, services, or processes to evaluate quality or performance.
  • DatabasesUsing a computer application to manage large amounts of information, including creating and editing simple databases, inputting data, retrieving specific records, and creating reports to communicate the information.
  • Monitoring Monitoring/Assessing performance of yourself, other individuals, or organizations to make improvements or take corrective action.
  • Learning Strategies Selecting and using training/instructional methods and procedures appropriate for the situation when learning or teaching new things.
  • Mathematics Using mathematics to solve problems.
  • Critical Thinking Using logic and reasoning to identify the strengths and weaknesses of alternative solutions, conclusions, or approaches to problems.
  • Management of Material Resources Obtaining and seeing to the appropriate use of equipment, facilities, and materials needed to do certain work.
  • Active Learning Understanding the implications of new information for both current and future problem-solving and decision-making.
  • Troubleshooting Determining causes of operating errors and deciding what to do about it.
  • Service Orientation Actively looking for ways to help people.

Dental Hygienists Education and Training:

Typical education for include: Associate's degree.

Dental Hygienists Salary, Wages, and Salary and Job Outlook

Dental Hygienists average pay is: $39.14 per hour according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. Employees who work in Employment Services are the highest paid making $42.63, while NAmake the least at $33.39 per hour.Here are the top city/metro areas with the highest paying salaries for a Dental Hygienists:


Hourly mean wage

Annual mean wage

Employment per thousand jobs

Santa Maria-Santa Barbara, CA




San Francisco-Oakland-Hayward, CA




San Jose-Sunnyvale-Santa Clara, CA




Santa Rosa, CA




Seattle-Tacoma-Bellevue, WA



2.16 Dental Hygienists data