Dental Hygienists
SOC: 29-2021.00


Clean teeth and examine oral areas, head, and neck for signs of oral disease. May educate patients on oral hygiene, take and develop x rays, or apply fluoride or sealants.

National Salary Information:

Hourly Statistics:

Annual Statistics:

Source: Bureau of Labor Statistics 2015 wage data.

Employment Projections:

Employment (2014):
200,500 employed

Projected (2024):
237,900 employed

Projected growth (2014-2024)

Source: Bureau of Labor Statistics 2015 2014-2024 employment projections external site. "Projected growth" represents the estimated change in total employment over the projections period (2014-2024). "Projected job openings" represent openings due to growth and replacement.

Alternate Titles:

  • Dental Hygienist
  • Dental Hygienist, Mobile Coordinator
  • Dental Nurse
  • Education Coordinator
  • Hygienist
  • Implant Coordinator
  • Oral Hygienist
  • Pediatric Dental Hygienist
  • Registered Dental Hygienist (RDH)
  • Registered Dental Hygienist, Part Time Clinical Faculty

  • Job Zone Three: Medium Preparation Needed


    Previous work-related skill, knowledge, or experience is required for these occupations. For example, an electrician must have completed three or four years of apprenticeship or several years of vocational training, and often must have passed a licensing exam, in order to perform the job.


    Most occupations in this zone require training in vocational schools, related on-the-job experience, or an associate's degree.

    Job Training:

    Employees in these occupations usually need one or two years of training involving both on-the-job experience and informal training with experienced workers. A recognized apprenticeship program may be associated with these occupations.

    Required Skills:

  • Reading Comprehension
  • Active Listening
  • Writing
  • Speaking
  • Mathematics
  • Science
  • Critical Thinking
  • Active Learning
  • Learning Strategies
  • Monitoring
  • Social Perceptiveness
  • Coordination
  • Persuasion
  • Negotiation
  • Instructing
  • Service Orientation
  • Complex Problem Solving
  • Operations Analysis
  • Technology Design
  • Operation Monitoring
  • Operation and Control
  • Equipment Maintenance
  • Troubleshooting
  • Quality Control Analysis
  • Judgment and Decision Making
  • Systems Analysis
  • Systems Evaluation
  • Time Management
  • Management of Material Resources
  • Management of Personnel Resources

  • Knowledge Used:

  • Administration and Management
  • Clerical
  • Economics and Accounting
  • Sales and Marketing
  • Customer and Personal Service
  • Personnel and Human Resources
  • Production and Processing
  • Computers and Electronics
  • Engineering and Technology
  • Mechanical
  • Mathematics
  • Physics
  • Chemistry
  • Biology
  • Psychology
  • Sociology and Anthropology
  • Medicine and Dentistry
  • Therapy and Counseling
  • Education and Training
  • English Language
  • Foreign Language
  • Philosophy and Theology
  • Public Safety and Security
  • Law and Government
  • Telecommunications
  • Communications and Media

  • Tasks:

  • Clean calcareous deposits, accretions, and stains from teeth and beneath margins of gums, using dental instruments.
  • Feel and visually examine gums for sores and signs of disease.
  • Chart conditions of decay and disease for diagnosis and treatment by dentist.
  • Feel lymph nodes under patient's chin to detect swelling or tenderness that could indicate presence of oral cancer.
  • Apply fluorides or other cavity preventing agents to arrest dental decay.
  • Examine gums, using probes, to locate periodontal recessed gums and signs of gum disease.
  • Expose and develop x-ray film.
  • Remove excess cement from coronal surfaces of teeth.
  • Make impressions for study casts.
  • Administer local anesthetic agents.
  • Conduct dental health clinics for community groups to augment services of dentist.
  • Remove sutures and dressings.
  • Place and remove rubber dams, matrices, and temporary restorations.
  • Record and review patient medical histories.
  • Provide clinical services or health education to improve and maintain the oral health of patients or the general public.
  • Maintain dental equipment and sharpen and sterilize dental instruments.
  • Maintain patient recall system.

  • Tools & Technology:

  • Air abrasion equipment
  • Air-driven dental polishers
  • Air/water syringes
  • Amalgam carriers
  • Angle formers
  • Aspirating syringes
  • Autoclaves
  • Autoscalars
  • Bite wings
  • Calculus explorers
  • Caries detection aids
  • Caries explorers
  • Cavitron equipment
  • Computer scanners
  • Cotton pliers
  • Dental chairs
  • Dental curettes
  • Dental lasers
  • Dental needles
  • Dental polishers
  • Dental x ray development equipment
  • Dental x ray machines
  • Digital cameras
  • Digital dental x ray units
  • Electronic blood pressure units
  • Electronic calculus detectors
  • Film badges
  • Hand scalers
  • Hollow handle scalars
  • Impression trays
  • Instrument sharpening devices
  • Intraoral dental cameras
  • Lead aprons
  • Manual blood pressure cuffs
  • Matrices/matrix retainers
  • Mechanical mixers
  • Mechanical stethoscopes
  • Mercury blood pressure units
  • Microscope slides
  • Motor-driven dental polishers
  • Nabers furcation probes
  • Neodymium-doped Yttrium Aluminum Garnet Nd:YAG dental lasers
  • Nitrous oxide administration equipment
  • Notebook computers
  • Oxygen administration equipment
  • Panoramic dental x ray units
  • Periapical films
  • Periodontal probes
  • Personal computers
  • Portable dental x ray units
  • Pulp testers
  • Retraction cords
  • Rotating caps
  • Rubber dams
  • Saliva ejectors
  • Solid handle scalars
  • Suctioning equipment
  • Ultrasonic scalers
  • Ultrasonic sterilization units
  • Dental billing software
  • Dental charting software
  • Dental clinical records software
  • Dental digital radiology software
  • Dental imaging software
  • Dental intra-oral imaging software
  • Dental office management software
  • Email software
  • Henry Schein Dentrix software
  • Inventory management software
  • Microsoft Excel
  • Microsoft Office
  • Microsoft Word
  • Scheduling software
  • Voice-activated perio charting software
  • Web browser software
  • Word processing software

  • healthcare practitioners and technical

    industry stats

    SOC: 29-0000

    Total Employed: 8,021,800

    Average Annual Salary: $77,800