Work with patients who have difficulty breathing.
Dental Hygienists take care of much of the less complex, day-to-day duties in a Dentist’s office. You’re the first person that patients see, you do the majority of the procedures (time-wise), and you’re the last person the patients interact with. In fact, if someone usually only gets cleanings, they may think that you are their Dentist!
Typical duties for a Dental Hygienist include: taking and exposing dental x-rays, making study casts of patients’ teeth, clean patients teeth, applying fluoride, recording patient information and giving patients post-visit instructions on the proper care and cleaning of their teeth. In other words, Dental Hygienists take care of the standard dentist stuff, leaving the more complicated and specialized tasks to the Dentist.
However, you don’t just pass off a patient if something gets tricky; you assist Dentists in complex procedures, acting as a second pair of hands. This means you get to participate in all levels of dental operations, and do everything from hand out free toothbrushes to help with surgery. Because of this, you need to have steady hands and a passing knowledge of dentistry and dental procedures.
This is a wonderful career for someone who is interested in dentistry, but doesn’t want to put in the many years at school needed to become a full Dentist.