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Dental Hygienist

Dental hygienists provide dental hygiene treatment and information related to the prevention of diseases and disorders of the teeth and mouth. They are employed in dentists' offices, hospitals, clinics, educational institutions, government agencies and private industry.

Main duties

Dental hygienists perform some or all of the following duties:

  • Conduct an initial dental assessment and consult with dentists on patient care;
  • Take dental impressions;
  • Instruct patients regarding oral hygiene procedures;
  • Clean and stimulate the gums to prevent gum disease;
  • Remove stains and deposits from teeth to prevent tooth and root decay;
  • Apply fluoride treatment; and
  • Take and develop X-rays;
  • May perform restorative and orthodontic procedures under the direction of a dentist; and
  • May supervise dental assistants in their health care functions.

Employment Requirements

  • Dental hygienists are required to complete a college program ranging from one to three years, or other approved program in dental hygiene recognized by the governing board within the province or territory of residence.
  • Licensing by the appropriate provincial or territorial regulatory body is required for dental hygienists.

Source: National Occupational Classification - 2001 provided courtesy of Human Resources and Skills Development Canada. Reproduced with the permission of the Minister of Public Works and Government Services, 2004.

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