Purpose and Mission
Dental hygienists are healthcare professionals who work on a dental team at a dentist’s office. They are trained in the latest preventive, educational and therapeutic methods to help control oral diseases and help patients achieve and maintain oral health. One of the primary tasks of a dental hygienist is to perform cleaning-related clinical procedures such as removal of plaque and tartar from teeth and gums to prevent dental disease.
Dental hygienists are typically supervised in clinical practice by a dentist. Hygienists may, however, report directly to an administrative manager for non-clinical issues.
Most dental hygienists do not have notable supervisory responsibilities, although senior or more experienced hygienists may be responsible for training or oversight of less experienced colleagues.
The minimum qualifications to become a dental hygienist in Australia are a two-year Advanced Diploma of Oral Health in Dental Hygiene or a three-year Bachelor of Oral Health (offered at several major universities across Australia).
Note that dental hygiene training programs are very competitive and most have limited quotas. Candidates already having college credits in biology and chemistry, and Certificates III and IV in Dental Assisting, may be preferred.
Responsibilities of a Dental Hygienist
The responsibilities of a dental hygienist include a range duties focused on diagnostic, therapeutic and preventive techniques to support total health and minimize oral diseases. The specific procedures that a dental hygienist can perform are regulated by state laws.
The primary duties of dental hygienists include: