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The Benefits of Being a Dental Hygienist

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By Olivia Puccio

Edited by Cindy Swisher

Are you considering becoming a dental hygienist? This career has many benefits. Dental hygiene may be the right choice for someone who likes to work one on one with others and wants to improve their health; someone who is looking for a family friendly job with a higher than average salary.

“The key to success is hard work and determination.”   A GPA of 3.8 or higher is necessary to apply to the dental hygiene program at St. Petersburg College. An Associates degree will be earned upon completion of the program. A Bachelor’s degree is only needed if you are interested in teaching dental hygiene.

To be suitable for this career, one must be personable. Dental hygienists benefit from a friendly relationship with each patient, and the ability to personally remember him or her is helpful. Being able to communicate effectively with clients set a good dental hygienist apart from the rest. Because a dental hygienists’ clientele includes all ages, it is important to be able to keep each client at ease. They need to be comfortable and outgoing while performing oral exams. A quiet, impersonal hygienist may make patients feel uncomfortable or nervous.

In addition, dental hygiene is a good career option for someone who does not like drama in the work place. This job does not require an interfering assistant. Instead, dental hygienists work with the clients in their own office, independently, to ensure that every tooth has received necessary attention. One who is interested in this career can find inspiration from the following quote: “Being independent means writing one’s own story each day.” This is a great career for those who work best on their own.

Buzz! Buzz! Buzz! That is the sound of a dental instrument being used to clean the client’s teeth! A dental hygienist improves the clients overall health when cleaning their teeth. They can help to prevent illnesses and lower the risk of diseases during each examination. Teeth cleaning is greatly beneficial for clients with heart ailments or other medical conditions. A client can lower the risk of gingivitis, periodontal disease, cavities and more by routinely visiting their dental hygienist. Ms. Rose, a dental hygienist for 30 years, said, “Plaque in the mouth contributes to bacteria, and is a direct connection to clogged arteries in the heart!” Through regular visits, dental hygienists positively impact the health of their clients.

Another benefit of being a dental hygienist is that it is a family-friendly career. It is flexible, and offers the option to work part or full time. A typical shift is eight a.m. to five p.m., which is accommodating to one’s personal life. Dental hygienists work Monday through Friday; they do not normally work weekends or holidays because most dentist offices are closed. Mrs. Maddie Irwin, a dental hygienist for 27 years said, “It has great hours and I never work nights, weekends or holidays”.

Not only is dental hygiene great for your personal life, it also offers  a high enough income to live a comfortable lifestyle. The salary rate for dental hygiene is high. “In 2013, their median salary was $71, 110,” and it is progressively rising. “The top 25 percent of earners made annual salaries at or above $83,310, and the top 10 percent made annual salaries at or above $94,850.”

“Every tooth in a man’s head is more valuable than a diamond.” Dental hygiene is a job in high demand. This includes both part and full time positions. This is a satisfying sentence to hear in today’s world. People need to take proper care of their teeth and visit the dentist office every six months. Only a certified dental hygienist can perform that task. “The bureau projected a 38-percent increase in jobs for hygienists from 2010 to 2020.” This proves that dental hygiene is a good career choice.

If you are interested in seeking information on becoming a dental hygienist at Saint Petersburg College, you can visit this website.

Header photo by Army Medicine (flickr creative commons).

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The Board of Trustees of St. Petersburg College affirms its equal opportunity policy in accordance with the provisions of the Florida Educational Equity Act and all other relevant state and federal laws, rules and regulations. The college will not discriminate on the basis of race, color, ethnicity, religion, sex, age, national origin, marital status, pregnancy, sexual orientation, gender identity, genetic information, or against any qualified individual with disabilities in its employment practices or in the admission and treatment of students. Recognizing that sexual harassment constitutes discrimination on the basis of sex and violates this Rule, the college will not tolerate such conduct. Should you experience such behavior, please contact Pamela Smith, the director of EA/EO/Title IX Coordinator at 727-341-3261; by mail at P.O. Box 13489, St. Petersburg, FL 33733-3489; or by email at


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