Dental Hygienists

What Dental Hygienists Do

Dental hygienists examine patients for signs of oral diseases, such as gingivitis, and provide preventive care, including oral hygiene.

Work Environment

Nearly all dental hygienists work in dentists’ offices, and many work part time.

How to Become a Dental Hygienist

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


The median annual wage for dental hygienists was $77,090 in May 2020.

Job Outlook

Employment of dental hygienists is projected to grow 6 percent from 2019 to 2029, faster than the average for all occupations. The demand for dental services will increase as the population ages and as research continues to link oral health to overall health.

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