Valley District Dental Society Valley Districk Dental Society, a Member of the Massachusetts Dental Society, Serving Franklin, Hampshire & Hampden Counties
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Dental Hygienist







Dental hygienists are important members of the dental health care team who work with dentists in the delivery of dental care to patients. Hygienists use their knowledge and clinical skills to provide dental hygiene care for patients. They use their interpersonal skills to motivate and instruct patients on methods to prevent oral disease and to maintain oral health.

Overview of Responsibilities

Dental hygienists are valuable assets in a dental practice. In addition to performing technical duties, they play an important role in teaching patients appropriate oral hygiene techniques and counseling them regarding good nutrition and its impact on oral health.
Duties can include taking the patient's history, cleaning teeth, taking and developing dental x-rays, placing sealants and fluorides, teaching patients how to brush and floss properly, educating the patient on how nutrition is important to good dental health, and more.  


Dental Hygienist are licensed after completion of a dental hygiene curriculum, generally offered as part of a two or four-year full-time curriculum at community colleges or universities and/or dental schools. Additional studies are available for higher-level careers in dental hygiene, such as teaching, clinical practice or public health. Dental hygienists are licensed by the Massachusetts Board of Dentistry.

The majority of community college dental hygiene programs take at least two years to complete, with graduates receiving associate degrees. Receipt of this degree allows a hygienist to take licensure examinations (national and state or regional), become licensed and to work in a dental office. University-based dental hygiene programs may offer baccalaureate and master's degrees, which generally require at least two years of further schooling. These additional degrees may be required to embark on a career in teaching and/or research, as well as for clinical practice in school or public health programs.






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