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California Health Occupations Directory

Dental Hygienist

Dental HygienistDental Hygienists are part of the dental care team that includes dentists, dental assistants, and dental technicians working together to prevent and control gum disease and the development of tooth decay. Dental Hygienists clean and polish teeth using scaling instruments and a rotating polisher. They apply decay preventive agents such as fluorides and sealants, chart medical and dental histories, and take and develop dental X-ray films. They also gather all of the patient data and information for the dentist and teach patients good oral hygiene practices. Dental hygienists also perform oral cancer screenings. 

Hygienists do not diagnose problems, but over time they acquire more responsibility. They can administer anesthesia for pain control and prepare clinical and laboratory tests for interpretation by dentists.

Educational Programs/Qualifications

Completion of a two-year degree from an accredited dental hygiene program, successfully pass the National Board examination and the State Board practical examination, and posses license issued by the State Board of Dental Examiners .


Links to Additional Career Information

Dental Hygiene Committee of California

Dental Board of California (DBC)



Salary/Wage: Click here

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