Dental hygienists play a crucial role in performing dental practices and handling patients’ oral health. When patients arrive for an appointment, a dental hygienist is often among the first to greet them and spend the most time directly interacting with the patient. Dental hygienists in Alberta are trained medical professionals with a focus on oral health. They must have a diploma or bachelor’s degree and meet the training and additional requirements of the College of Registered Dental Hygienists of Alberta (CRDHA).
Duties of Dental Hygienists
Dental hygienists have many duties that generally include:
- Providing preventive care.
- Answering patients’ questions and educating them about oral care and health.
- Offering dental prophylaxis.
- Sterilizing dental equipment correctly to maintain patients’ health and safety.
- Examining patients for gingivitis and other oral diseases, as well as signs of oral care problems.
- Interacting with dentists and helping communicate patients’ needs and health.
- Protecting teeth with fluorides and sealants.
- Removing stains, tartar and plaque from patients’ teeth.
- Getting patients ready for dental treatment.
- Taking patients’ dental imaging and developing any needed x-rays.
- Documenting many parts of the patient care experience, including treatment plans and diagnoses.
- Using the dental office’s tools, including lasers, ultrasonic tools and hand tools.
- Taking clinical refresher courses to stay up to date with changes in the field.
Career Opportunities for Dental Hygienists
There are many full-time dental hygienist jobs at dental offices in Alberta. However, some dental hygienists choose to be self-employed and arrange contracts with dental offices.
In addition to working in dental offices, dental hygienists can also work in:
- Research laboratories.
- Universities and colleges.
- Correctional institutions.
- Outreach programs.
- Forensic labs.
- Public health programs.
- Community health programs.
- Health care and hospital facilities.
- Consulting firms.
- Professional associations.
- Military capacities.
- Products supply.
- Policy planning.
- Regulatory bodies.
- Health promotion.
If you’ve been considering a dental career in Edmonton or Calgary and are thinking about becoming a dental hygienist, you will need to meet the mandates of the CRDHA. This may mean completing the University of Alberta Dental Hygiene Program or another program that meets the same standards. You may also have to pass a criminal check, submit registration and related fees, and pass both the National Dental Hygiene Certification Board and CRDHA jurisprudence examination. In addition, you must show you have adequate cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR) certification, good character and a proficiency in the English language.
Are You Looking for Dental Hygiene Jobs in Calgary or Edmonton?
If you’re an experienced dental hygienist who is passionate about helping patients, review dentist job openings at Dental Choice. Dental Choice has been focused on providing family-friendly and professional dentistry services to Albertans for more than 25 years. By becoming a part of the Dental Choice team, you can play a role in helping individuals enjoy accessible oral health.
This article was reviewed by Sylvia Marshall, RDH.
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