Dental Hygiene or Physical Therapist Assistant

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Lindsea Smith in Denver, Colorado

55 months ago

Can anyone please give me an insight into which career field is better as far as job growth and career satisfaction. I am looking for a career change and I am thinking about either going to the Community College of Denver for Dental Hygiene or ACC for PTA. Which would be the better choice?

Thank you for everyone's help.

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Brooke in Manchester, Tennessee

55 months ago

I was in the same boat as you Lindsea, choosing between dental hygiene & physical therapy assistant. After reading a lot of forums & doing a lot of research I have decided to go with PTA & I'm so glad I did! Dental hygienist seems like a great field to go into because the pay seems really good but i have talked to a lot of DH & they have lost their jobs, or new graduates can't find jobs after school! A lot can only find part time work with no benefits. There are a lot of job openings all over the place for PTA's and the salary is good & it is very rewarding! I have job shadowed both & after that I realized how BORING DH was and I am definitely excited about starting school this coming fall to become a PTA!
Good luck with which ever you choose though!

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exp in Exeter, New Hampshire

55 months ago

Brooke in Manchester, Tennessee said: I was in the same boat as you Lindsea, choosing between dental hygiene & physical therapy assistant. After reading a lot of forums & doing a lot of research I have decided to go with PTA & I'm so glad I did! Dental hygienist seems like a great field to go into because the pay seems really good but i have talked to a lot of DH & they have lost their jobs, or new graduates can't find jobs after school! A lot can only find part time work with no benefits. There are a lot of job openings all over the place for PTA's and the salary is good & it is very rewarding! I have job shadowed both & after that I realized how BORING DH was and I am definitely excited about starting school this coming fall to become a PTA!
Good luck with which ever you choose though!

Brooke, D.H. is not boring and it could be rewarding to many if the market wasn't contiuing to be OVERSATURATED, but I'm glad you chose PTA, for a JOB, SECURITY, and a REITREMENT PKG....I wish.....others see what you have decided on after "TALKING" to D.H.'s and seeing what's happening to many in our field.

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Brooke in Manchester, Tennessee

55 months ago

The boring comment was made out of opinion, thats how I felt when I job shadowed the DH. I'm sure it isn't to many people though, I was just sharing my experience.

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Crystal in Tampa, Florida

54 months ago

So I am totally in the same boat with you right now Lindsea. I have been through sleepless nights trying to decide what I want to do, PTA or Dental Hygienist? They both have about the same Pros and Cons and both make about the same amount of money so I have been stuck in a rut trying to figure out what Id love more. After listening to some of the comments people have said I think PTA is going to be the better choice after all. I want to help people and I think its really going to be more rewarding than dental hygiene. The only thing that really scares me is the amount of work thats going to be placed on your body. But I guess thats why they have massage spas haha. Anyways, Im glad I came through this website, good luck and thanks for the responses you all made to her question since Im totally in the same position!

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Marie in Glen Burnie, Maryland

52 months ago

I am in the same position too. I am currently enrolled in a dental assistant program to ultimately become a DH but am thinking about changing my program to PTA. Its just the school is a 30 minute commmute there and back. I know that id have to make the sacrifice. Its not that bad. One question, exactly how much work will be placed on our body?

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waterbug100 in Campbell River, British Columbia

52 months ago

Marie...DH have major problems with carpal tunnel, neck and back problems due to repetition.

We sit all day, and have to resort to poor posture (to access different areas in the mouth) plus scaling is repetitive hand and wrist movements. These problems are always in the back of our minds and are of great concern for long term DH. Most DH I know visit PT regularly.

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Marie in Petersburg, Virginia

52 months ago

Crystal in Tampa, Florida said: So I am totally in the same boat with you right now Lindsea. I have been through sleepless nights trying to decide what I want to do, PTA or Dental Hygienist? They both have about the same Pros and Cons and both make about the same amount of money so I have been stuck in a rut trying to figure out what Id love more. After listening to some of the comments people have said I think PTA is going to be the better choice after all. I want to help people and I think its really going to be more rewarding than dental hygiene. The only thing that really scares me is the amount of work thats going to be placed on your body. But I guess thats why they have massage spas haha. Anyways, Im glad I came through this website, good luck and thanks for the responses you all made to her question since Im totally in the same position!
.

Crystal,
As a PTA just how much work will be placed on our bodies?

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Marie in Petersburg, Virginia

52 months ago

waterbug100 in Campbell River, British Columbia said: Marie...DH have major problems with carpal tunnel, neck and back problems due to repetition.

We sit all day, and have to resort to poor posture (to access different areas in the mouth) plus scaling is repetitive hand and wrist movements. These problems are always in the back of our minds and are of great concern for long term DH. Most DH I know visit PT regularly.

Thank u for this information waterbug100. I already have problems with carpal tunnel so for the sake of my health I suppose DH wouldnt be the right career for me. Thank u very much

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mamuleto26 in Hialeah, Florida

51 months ago

I came across this web site looking for the same answer.DH or PTA¿ Well, although I like DH better, I realized that DH takes almost 20 or 25 more credits to finish than PTA, we are talking an extra 1 year and a half or 2 more years, PTAs make so much money and have a better job opportunity. Since both are hard on your body because of the posture as a DH, and the physical work as a PTA, I rather go with the one that makes more money and has a better job opportunity and I can achieve it on a shorter period of time.

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Devanna in Temecula, California

51 months ago

I also am deciding between PTA, DH or RN and i know there are pros and cons to both the only thing i am really scared of is if i cant find a job after schooling so what do you think is a better career i would like opinions...by the way i know RN is probably the best i just don't know if i can do the "dirty" job that comes with being a RN

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exp in Epping, New Hampshire

51 months ago

Devanna in Temecula, California said: I also am deciding between PTA, DH or RN and i know there are pros and cons to both the only thing i am really scared of is if i cant find a job after schooling so what do you think is a better career i would like opinions...by the way i know RN is probably the best i just don't know if i can do the "dirty" job that comes with being a RN

Hi, Both Nursing and DH can be a "dirty job"...do you know what periodontal disease is? Have you seen people with disgusting teeth when they smile , bad breath and cavities (caries) you can actually see when they smile or speak with you (ouch)...being an RDH, you see many types of homecare...and it can be quite bloody and dealing with "cement" type tarter (calculus on teeth)...google periodontal dis./photos and see what you might find...if you do want to go into the dental field , start with training to be a DA, then you will have more of an idea as to if this is the field for you...also, an 1/8 of the cost of training to be an RDH! Nursing, would afford stability , ben's, etc. compared to what many an RDH can receive in today's market...reality IMO is think of stability in something you see yourself doing for 30+ yrs. and know you have a nest egg when you are ready to retire...many RDH's are on their own for putting away money for their own ret. yrs. Many also find they have to work in 2-3 offices to receive enough to live on and pay their bills...reality of the field in 2010...but if you have a relative that assures you of a job when you've completed DH school...do it...if you become a DA, and the Dr.' is willing to pay some for DH training and you repay in coming back to that practice...is another way....too much $$$ for training now for slim job market...many...many resumes out there, even to offices not looking to hire....shot in the dark for consistent work in DH field now....really research, speak with PT and FT RDH's, shadow them if allowed. GL

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30 year vet in Edmonton, Alberta

51 months ago

exp in Epping, New Hampshire said: Hi, Both Nursing and DH can be a "dirty job"...do you know what periodontal disease is? Have you seen people with disgusting teeth when they smile , bad breath and cavities (caries) you can actually see when they smile or speak with you (ouch)...being an RDH, you see many types of homecare...and it can be quite bloody and dealing with "cement" type tarter (calculus on teeth)...google periodontal dis./photos and see what you might find...if you do want to go into the dental field , start with training to be a DA, then you will have more of an idea as to if this is the field for you...also, an 1/8 of the cost of training to be an RDH! Nursing, would afford stability , ben's, etc. compared to what many an RDH can receive in today's market...reality IMO is think of stability in something you see yourself doing for 30+ yrs. and know you have a nest egg when you are ready to retire...many RDH's are on their own for putting away money for their own ret. yrs. Many also find they have to work in 2-3 offices to receive enough to live on and pay their bills...reality of the field in 2010...but if you have a relative that assures you of a job when you've completed DH school...do it...if you become a DA, and the Dr.' is willing to pay some for DH training and you repay in coming back to that practice...is another way....too much $$$ for training now for slim job market...many...many resumes out there, even to offices not looking to hire....shot in the dark for consistent work in DH field now....really research, speak with PT and FT RDH's, shadow them if allowed. GL

Well said EXP...let's just hope they listen as this 'mess' gets cleaned up....

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exp in Epping, New Hampshire

51 months ago

Hi 30 yr. VET, We keep trying to inform those retraining or thinking about DH at this point...but it is fighting a battle with online, schools, and those with secure jobs (how secure in this market...time will tell for them)...REALITY....yes, so others will support us and others will treat us negatively and p'd off at what our exp's are (everyone has different exp...). Agree to disagree; if you know where alot of decent jobs are....let others know if yours is secure...many would appreciate that advice. Still the "System", etc. will be glad to take your money....next...to keep their jobs safe....P.S. Suzanne...has an interview...fingers xx'd position, although ? it's a real ride....hope they see exp and caring...and don't do the other office shennanigan's...

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nikki in Rochester, Michigan

49 months ago

After reading all the commments I think I have decided which program I should enroll in....The best part about being a physical therapist is that, if we have problems or pain due to heavy physical activity, we can alwayz know how to get rid of that pain..Apart from that we will have are fellow employees who can help give us a massage...LOL:)

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nikki in Rochester, Michigan

49 months ago

After reading all the commments I think I have decided which program I should enroll in....The best part about being a physical therapist is that, if we have problems or pain due to heavy physical activity, we can alwayz know how to get rid of that pain..Apart from that we will have are fellow employees who can help give us a massage...LOL:)

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kysam in Houston, Texas

48 months ago

am in a great dilemma in choosing btw RN and PTA..I know RN got a good package but i dont think i can withstand the nasty bloody stuff the RN goes thro,,Pliz advice coz i have already enrolled for RN prerequsites,but i can still switch 2 PT..pliz advice

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exp in Newmarket, New Hampshire

48 months ago

kysam in Houston, Texas said: am in a great dilemma in choosing btw RN and PTA..I know RN got a good package but i dont think i can withstand the nasty bloody stuff the RN goes thro,,Pliz advice coz i have already enrolled for RN prerequsites,but i can still switch 2 PT..pliz advice

Find out what exactly a "PTA" does....specifics....Most medical and dental DEAL with blood, so if you don't think you can look or work with blood....go for something that is not medical or dental....GL....I'm glad to see that you "might" be taking another direction for a career choice by what the DH field looks like, and MANY are experiencing....think retirement pkg, bens...Many RDH can't even negotiate hours...pay, days, etc. are at the hands of the DR.'s now...VERY little negotiating power...REALITY of DH field...is very sad...in a hole for a VERY long time!

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SamanthaL in Burnaby, British Columbia

48 months ago

I would chose DH over RN any day of the week. Can you imagine cleaning up vomit and feces all day? Plus, our wages are higher than LPNs and some RNs. They do have better benefits though.

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lisa in West Springfield, Massachusetts

48 months ago

SamanthaL in Burnaby, British Columbia said: I would chose DH over RN any day of the week. Can you imagine cleaning up vomit and feces all day? Plus, our wages are higher than LPNs and some RNs. They do have better benefits though.

RN do not clean up vomit or feces,that job is delegated to CNA.By the way,I have been a hygienist for more than 20 years and can tell you first hand it is an awful career.I have never worked in a field before this where the employers are extremely difficult to work for.They are so cheap,they dont ever want you to take a vacation,let alone pay you a week off per year.When patients do not show up for appointments,guess who they take it out on?I am going back to school next fall to become an RN.There are numerous opportunities for growth unlike hygienists where you are almost certain to work for a miserable,cheap dentist.

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exp in Newmarket, New Hampshire

48 months ago

lisa in West Springfield, Massachusetts said: RN do not clean up vomit or feces,that job is delegated to CNA.By the way,I have been a hygienist for more than 20 years and can tell you first hand it is an awful career.I have never worked in a field before this where the employers are extremely difficult to work for.They are so cheap,they dont ever want you to take a vacation,let alone pay you a week off per year.When patients do not show up for appointments,guess who they take it out on?I am going back to school next fall to become an RN.There are numerous opportunities for growth unlike hygienists where you are almost certain to work for a miserable,cheap dentist.

Hi Lisa, I think the person above must be either young, in H.S., or doesn't really know what they want to do as far as a career? If they did and researched beyond the rosey picture that a few on here and the schools, BLS and govt. put forth, they still wouldn't find the true answers! I wish you good luck in your future in Nursing...sad that many RDH's have to deal with the many pedestals in Dentistry...I've seen both good and bad and the good jobs are hard to find...because their staff do not retire!.

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Suzanne in Terre Haute, Indiana

48 months ago

SamanthaL in Burnaby, British Columbia said: I would chose DH over RN any day of the week. Can you imagine cleaning up vomit and feces all day? Plus, our wages are higher than LPNs and some RNs. They do have better benefits though.

RN's don't do the dirty work very often. There are patient care assistants as well that go in to clean and housekeeping does it too. I have found out LPN's are being phased out of hospitals and pretty much limited to long term care facilities. The ASN program is only a semester longer than the LPN and you would have a lot more opportunities. Once you have your ASN, many facilities will help you pay for your RN. It's a definite plus over DH. More places to work and opportunities for advancement, whereas hygiene you're pretty much going to work for a dds and that's it. Maybe a prison or school contract (prison only if you're under 36 to start). Then when you hit your 40's or 50's you will definitely feel the age discrimination. DH is a great field but it has it's limitations.

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Jaded RDH in Plano, Texas

45 months ago

All of the allied health fields deal with working with patients. Some fields offer a higher salary, some with a lower salary but with long term benefits such as health insurance or retirement. I am a DH, with my B.S., who graduated with idealistic views about dental healthcare until I got into the "real world." In TX, DH are very limited to what is allowed in their scope of practice, due to dentists governing their profession. In the workplace more often than not, the assistants have more clout in the office and the DH is worked like a pack mule and not really appreciated by the office staff. It is becoming more about the dentist's pockets than the health of patient. More like a business model instead of a healthcare model. As a DH you are expected to work non stop, sitting in body breaking positions for extended periods of time, heavy wear and tear on wrists, neck, and back; and it is difficult to take time off. All while being disrespected by everyone else in the office. Most DH start to have carpal tunnel issues within the first 5 years. Since I graduated, I have been consistently seeing a clinical massage therapist. If you are leery of partially digested food, plaque, and bleeding, then it might not be the right career path. Typical burnout is 5-10 years. All that aside, it can be very rewarding when a patient learns from what you teach them (not always about oral hygiene- more like the systemic-oral tissue connection.) When the lightbulb clicks when they learn how the mouth affects the body and how to take care of their own mouth, it can be really rewarding. Sadly right now the only thing keeping me going to work are my patients. If I knew back then what I know now, I would've chosen another career path.

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AMANDA in Vancouver, British Columbia

45 months ago

I've been practicing hygiene for many years not. I don't regret it yet. Yes, there are days where i'm so tired after work that I literally want to fall asleep in my car. But I've been very lucky to find a good employer that pays commission, so the more i work, the more i take home. Plus, i can't STAND the sight of feces and massive amounts of blood, so i don't think i'd cut it as an RN. I think getting paid commission is so much better. I feel like i'm working for myself and im always motivated and happy to go to work. also, the wages in other similar professions are quite low in my opinion. i think RNs start at $28/hour. On a busy day, i can make over 80$/h, but i don't have benefits.

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DMD2Be in Chicago, Illinois

42 months ago

I was thinking of becoming a dentist, but then realized that 120K after school isn't that great when you owe 50K a year in student loans. But THEN I realized that is the STARTING salary of a new dentist, and the income potential is 20x's that of any other non-doctorate level professional and about 1.5-2x's that of a physician. Also, the reward to taking people out of pain, renewing function, and helping people regain their lives after years of social distress from unsightly teeth is worth it... JUST DO WHAT YOU LOVE.

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Melissa RDH in Milldale, Connecticut

38 months ago

Jaded RDH in Plano, Texas said: All of the allied health fields deal with working with patients. Some fields offer a higher salary, some with a lower salary but with long term benefits such as health insurance or retirement. I am a DH, with my B.S., who graduated with idealistic views about dental healthcare until I got into the "real world." In TX, DH are very limited to what is allowed in their scope of practice, due to dentists governing their profession. In the workplace more often than not, the assistants have more clout in the office and the DH is worked like a pack mule and not really appreciated by the office staff. It is becoming more about the dentist's pockets than the health of patient. More like a business model instead of a healthcare model. As a DH you are expected to work non stop, sitting in body breaking positions for extended periods of time, heavy wear and tear on wrists, neck, and back; and it is difficult to take time off. All while being disrespected by everyone else in the office. Most DH start to have carpal tunnel issues within the first 5 years. Since I graduated, I have been consistently seeing a clinical massage therapist. If you are leery of partially digested food, plaque, and bleeding, then it might not be the right career path. Typical burnout is 5-10 years. All that aside, it can be very rewarding when a patient learns from what you teach them (not always about oral hygiene- more like the systemic-oral tissue connection.) When the lightbulb clicks when they learn how the mouth affects the body and how to take care of their own mouth, it can be really rewarding. Sadly right now the only thing keeping me going to work are my patients. If I knew back then what I know now, I would've chosen another career path.

I have been practicing part-time for only 2 years now, and already have developed carpal tunnel symptoms..

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ChicagoRDH in Des Plaines, Illinois

38 months ago

Jaded RDH in Plano, Texas said: All of the allied health fields deal with working with patients. Some fields offer a higher salary, some with a lower salary but with long term benefits such as health insurance or retirement. I am a DH, with my B.S., who graduated with idealistic views about dental healthcare until I got into the "real world." In TX, DH are very limited to what is allowed in their scope of practice, due to dentists governing their profession. In the workplace more often than not, the assistants have more clout in the office and the DH is worked like a pack mule and not really appreciated by the office staff. It is becoming more about the dentist's pockets than the health of patient. More like a business model instead of a healthcare model. As a DH you are expected to work non stop, sitting in body breaking positions for extended periods of time, heavy wear and tear on wrists, neck, and back; and it is difficult to take time off. All while being disrespected by everyone else in the office. Most DH start to have carpal tunnel issues within the first 5 years. Since I graduated, I have been consistently seeing a clinical massage therapist. If you are leery of partially digested food, plaque, and bleeding, then it might not be the right career path. Typical burnout is 5-10 years. All that aside, it can be very rewarding when a patient learns from what you teach them (not always about oral hygiene- more like the systemic-oral tissue connection.) When the lightbulb clicks when they learn how the mouth affects the body and how to take care of their own mouth, it can be really rewarding. Sadly right now the only thing keeping me going to work are my patients. If I knew back then what I know now, I would've chosen another career path.

Hello, Jaded RDH, I had to chuckle at your entry. I too am an RDH in the Chicago land area. I totally agree with you on every point! I've been laid-off, looking for a new career.

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jeff in Frackville, Pennsylvania

35 months ago

thank you guys for your input, since none of you come from PA i cannot take all of them things stated
into mind cause it does matter where you live. right now i have graduated highschool just recently and
am excited to start my life, im 19 and ready to get out of the house ha.

what im left with is. PTA : easier schooling (money) benifits, retirement, and 30ish hr pay

while DH : is booming with jobs, greater money for school, but greater pay (38/hr start off)
left with no retirment or benifits

im glad im mature to look at the future of my life, saying i need those benifits and retirement for me and my kids. PTA is what im going for

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RDH Chicago in Chicago Heights, Illinois

35 months ago

ChicagoRDH in Des Plaines, Illinois said: Hello, Jaded RDH, I had to chuckle at your entry. I too am an RDH in the Chicago land area. I totally agree with you on every point! I've been laid-off, looking for a new career.

Dear ChicagoRDH, I am laughing with you and Jaded RDH in Texas! I graduated in 1994, idealistic, thinking that I would be respected by the dentist and staff. I was looking forward in sharing all the knowledge I learned in school with the doctor and the patients. I have had to "dumb-down" in conversing with the dentist, because what he says "goes", even if what he says is wrong. In every office I've been in a hygienist is worked to death. One HMO rarely disinfected between patients: chair covers, lights, wiping down. I saw the DDS throw bloody floss right onto a burr block, contaminating the rest of the burrs. He trained assistants off the street, so, having had no education in microbiology or bacterial transmission she didn't know to re-sterilize the burr block. When I asked the two assistants about why they didn't disinfect hard surfaces or change operatory barrier covers between patients, they were very snotty, saying, "Well, the doctor makes us go room to room and we have no time." Assistants disrespecting hygienists was the norm in every office I worked. I've got a
million bad stories to tell. Also, the sexual harassment was very uncomfortable! However, there is no human resource department to turn to for help.
After all these years I feel that my brain and body have broken down. I too have been laid-off. Have you all looked at Indeed's website and checked the "virtual" and "actual" future job trend for dental hygienists. What I saw was a -50%.
Working as a hygienist has been a horrible and wasted part of my life!!!!!!!!

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Superfluous RDH in Ottawa, Ontario

35 months ago

RDH Chicago:
You are right on! When I read your entry, it was like reading my own DH life story. I have exactly the same sentiments. My first years in hygiene were hellish and demoralizing, but I was too proud to admit that I had made a very big mistake by getting into DH. I know now that I should have gone back to school and swallowed my pride. I also thought that things might get better. But they didn't. Hindsight has 20-20 vision. Pack mule, rude personnel in the office, wow, I thought I was alone.
You brought up an interesting point about infection control. There is an issue here at an office that performs endoscopic procedures, that there was supposedly a breach in infection control. In my years as a DH, I have seen SO many breaches in infection control, and I wonder if others have encountered them as well. I've seen things like a dentist dropping a stainless steel crown onto the floor and spraying it with glass cleaner (because he was behind schedule and besides, the recipient kid was poor), I had an assistant say "I don't know if these instruments are sterile; I'll just assume that they are", and I have had unsterile kits deposited into my room; no one has time to check to make sure that things ARE sterile. Surface cleaners have to sit for a specified time. Counters are still wet when the next patient is seated. We're always going a hundred miles an hour. This is an insane way to make a living.

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Jennyfive in Erie, Pennsylvania

35 months ago

Cindy_rdh98 in Modesto, California said: Physical therapy! Dental hygiene is very limited and not too rewarding. It's groundhog's day every 6 months, same dirty teeth different mouth. I've been a hygienist for almost 5 years and as soon as you graduate you hit the ceiling of opportunity. I'm one of the lucky ones, I still have a job, but I know a handful of awesome hygienist who can't find work. As a PT assistant you can go back to school and become a PT. Work for a hospital and recieve benefits, that is very rare in hygeine. We can make great money, but I'd rather make 30bucks an hour with full benefits and retirement. I receive some, but other professions have better. I get one week vacation per year, but I never take it because I can never get the time. I work when I'm sick and only dream of taking 2-3weeks off for vacation...because it will never happen! Also what sounds better: celebrating with a patient who couldn't walk and now can or celebrating someone finally flossing!

You cannot just go back to school to become a PT if you are a PTA. PTA is a completely separate thing. You would have to start from nothing if you wanted to become a Physical Therapist. PTA is an associates degree from an accredited school. DPT requires a Bachelor's degree and Grad School.

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Cerritos College grad in Placentia, California

35 months ago

SamanthaL in Burnaby, British Columbia said: I would chose DH over RN any day of the week. Can you imagine cleaning up vomit and feces all day? Plus, our wages are higher than LPNs and some RNs. They do have better benefits though.

I don't believe RNs have to clean up vomit and feces. I think nursing assistants do that.

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Anys6 in fort collins, Colorado

35 months ago

Too bad that hygiene didn't take the educational tract that physical therapy did. Hygiene isn't taken seriously since the entry level is only associates.

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Monica C. in Lowell, Massachusetts

35 months ago

Wow. Dental Hygiene sounds terrible!! I'm thinking of reconsidering.. :-/

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ChicagoRDH in Chicago Heights, Illinois

34 months ago

ChicagoRDH in Des Plaines, Illinois said: Hello, Jaded RDH, I had to chuckle at your entry. I too am an RDH in the Chicago land area. I totally agree with you on every point! I've been laid-off, looking for a new career.

Dear ChicagoRDH: What are you doing now? I am looking at a career change to Occupational Therapy Assistant, where there are more job openings. However, the thought of another associates degree is daunting. Plus, since it has been more than 5 years since I've had Anatomy and Physiology I & II, I must repeat those classes. I'm not sure if my brain is up to it again. I call Washington, D.C. every week or two to let the White House comment line know how I feel. Also, I call Senator Durbin's office and Rep. Jesse Jackson's office and Mark Kirk's office too, and give the paige my opinion and ideas of what to do, so the paige/intern can relate my opinions to the Senator and Representives. Just a thought: Do you think it would be a good idea to have a DDS "Wall of Shame" like the tv show "My Wife and Kids", with Damon Wayans as the dad. That tv show writers came up with "The Wall of Shame". Personally I think it would be great, without naming a DDS. That would be slander, and we could be sued. But, then again, what hygienist or anyone, would know who the the DDS is or where the office was located? I would almost like to do this. I have seen so much neglect and doctors missing caries on radiographs. One time I asked one of my employers, "Where were you on the day you took the ethical and caring for people oath at your dental school?" He replied, "I wasn't there that day!" He is kind of a character though, so I'm not sure is he was being a smart-aleck (sp?).

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ashley in Oswego, Kansas

29 months ago

I am a dental hygienist. I Have been one for 5 years. I absolutely love it! I am nowhere near burnt out and I see a patient every 40 minutes...on a full day that is 10-11 people. I do not think my job is boring. I actually enjoy it. If you are uncertain you should go shadow people in the dental field to see what you think. The only bad thing is alot of dentists don't offer benefits just depends on who you work for. It sounds like alot of the RDH's on here made a bad career choice for themselves. There are RDH's out there that LOVE there job and I am one of them! Also the hours are VERY flexible love not having to work 40 hours a week and make excellent money! It just depends on who you work for and around where I live it is easy to find a job!

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SP in Kirkland, Washington

27 months ago

I am thinking of getting bachelor degree in DH from North Carolin. I am not sure if I am making a right decision because it will take two years and more than 32K to finish the program. Please suggest me if I am taking a right decision.

Thank you

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Cerritos College Grad in Placentia, California

27 months ago

ashley in Oswego, Kansas said: Also the hours are VERY flexible love not having to work 40 hours a week and make excellent money!

Right on! That's why I chose this profession.

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lynne in Feeding Hills, Massachusetts

27 months ago

Dental Hygiene used to be a great career 20 years ago,but not anymore with schools popping up like crazy,it is so hard to find a job out of school.There is no moving up the ladder like other professions either.To the hygienist that sees 11 patients a day,you will get burnt out,it is only a matter of time.There is no possible way to do a thorough prophy on this many patients a day without sacrificing quality and infection control,I have worked in an office like that and can tell you first hand it is not good.Your employer is more worried about quantity than quality,that is a given.I have always refused jobs that allowed less than 45 minutes per patient.You are probably wondering what difference the extra 5 minutes makes,the ability to adequately disinfect your work area.My niece was thinking about becoming a hygienist and I persuaded her to become an RN instead.She did just that and made more money right out of school than I do now with 23 years of experience as a hygienist, not to mention the endless benefits that are offered.You will never get decent benefits as a hygienist and if you do,you should stay with employer until you retire. It is definitely not the norm unfortunately.

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Chicago RDH in Chicago, Illinois

27 months ago

Hi,
I enjoyed reading your comment in Indeed's forum. Everything you mention is true.
I would like to know your thoughts on re-training careers.
I have been laid-off for two years, and cannot find work, even part-time.
Options I have thought of are: physical therapy, occupational therapy, medical billing and coding, pharmacy technician, dialysis technician, CNA, etc. Upon researching these fields, pharmacy tech., CNA, and dialysis tech. do not pay well. As for physical therapy and occupational therapy the two pay well however they take from two to three years full-time to complete. My savings are running out.
Additionally, I have thought of speech therapy, radiography, phlebotomy, and massage therapy.
It seems as though, because of the stress of being a dental hygienist (ex. trying to get everyone's teeth cleaned perfectly, the non-grateful dentists pushing to add another family member in one appointment, the pettiness, clicks, and back-stabbing of our fellow peers (hygienists), and how the front desk staff doesn't help much, and the assistants, I have experienced, resent helping a hygienist in need. I don't want to be in a dental setting anymore because there is too much stress. I believe my brain broke down and I can't seem to get out and apply at Walmart or Pet Smart, etc. I just want to be happy in the next career move!
So, what are your thoughts on what you are going to do? Maybe you have thought of things I haven't.

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Lynne in West Springfield, Massachusetts

27 months ago

Hi Chicago RDH,
I,m glad you appreciate the truth.It sounds like you have worked in the same kind of offices that I have.The worst offenders in the workplace are fellow hygienists.I have no clue where they get this prima donna mentality.I have found them to be extremely bossy,not to mention the ones with difficult patients seem to manage to stick them in your schedule for 6 month recall appointment(the offices where hygienists make their own appointments)I presently work in a community based health center in the dental department and like it much better than a private office.There is no pressure to meet daily quotas,if a patient does not show up,so be it.I am in my early fifties,so I really doubt I will change careers.The field itself has changed drastically over the past few years,if I was younger I would go back to school.Depending on your age and circumstances,you should think about switching careers and going back to school.If you like the healthcare field in particular,you should think about those fields that pay as well if not better than dental hygiene.I was once thinking about becoming a sonographer,the jobs are still there to this day,you can be employed in hospitals or private offices,you are not as limited in the places you can work as hygiene.It seems as though they prescribe ultrasounds for all kinds of potential medical problems,not just for pregnant women.The starting pay right out of school is equivalent to hygiene pay,in my area anyway.It is listed in the top 10 paying jobs requiring only an associates degree.You should also remember that depending on how long ago you got your associates degree,some of the sciences that are required for healthcare fields are the same,so it might be possible for you to waive these courses thus making it financially and mentally possible for you to achieve your goals.Good luck in your endeavors and let me know what you decide.

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Albert in Los Angeles, California

27 months ago

Cerritos College Grad in Placentia, California said: Right on! That's why I chose this profession.

please email me, i live in norwalk, near cerritos college, i am thinking about PTA vs DH , i need advice, my email is dorianf3.lwm@gmail.com

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ChicagoRDH in Chicago Heights, Illinois

25 months ago

Hi Lynne,

Thank you for writing and sharing your feelings and experiences working in the dental hygiene field.

Everything you mentioned is so true. I thought that fellow RDHs were peers to share new info and be friends with each other. It was eye-opening to meet two back-stabbing hygienists who would run and tell the office manager everything they heard. Then the info would be told to the boss. Then, whoever got picked on would be written-up by the office manager. I recall one incident where the snitches blamed me for missing to take the required one year bitewings. I was so scared sitting in the managers office. When I examined the chart later, when the manager was not around, I found that two other hygienists were responsible for missing the one year bite-wings, not me. I am very consciencious. Do you think I got an apology? Heck, no. The office still wrote me up. I casually mentioned to the two pal battle-axes that missing the BW date was not my fault. They didn't say a thing.
Anyway, I still have not been able to find a hygiene job. I am older too. My proud spirit of being a professional has been broken by the dominating doctors and other staff members. It seems like the hygienists get no respect at all. More like we are at the botton of the ladder getting dumped on for everything. Even the assistants in one office said they were too busy to help us with developing radiographs or offering any help to hygienists. But there they were, standing around talking to each other waiting to be called by the DDS. I am mentally broken and exhausted, and find no desire to return school for another career. I wonder if a new work environment would be like the hygiene field.
Sorry to be so negative. I'm just burned out by all the demands of the dentists and the non-cooperative environment by the staff.

However, thank you for writing back about your experiences! I don't feel so alone. Good luck. Let me know what
you are doing. Sincerely, Sue, Chicago Heights, IL

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ChicagoRDH in Chicago Heights, Illinois

25 months ago

Hi Lynne,

Thank you for writing and sharing your feelings and experiences working in the dental hygiene field.

Everything you mentioned is so true. I thought that fellow RDHs were peers to share new info and be friends with each other. It was eye-opening to meet two back-stabbing hygienists who would run and tell the office manager everything they heard. Then the info would be told to the boss. Then, whoever got picked on would be written-up by the office manager. I recall one incident where the snitches blamed me for missing to take the required one year bitewings. I was so scared sitting in the managers office. When I examined the chart later, when the manager was not around, I found that two other hygienists were responsible for missing the one year bite-wings, not me. I am very consciencious. Do you think I got an apology? Heck, no. The office still wrote me up. I casually mentioned to the two pal battle-axes that missing the BW date was not my fault. They didn't say a thing.
Anyway, I still have not been able to find a hygiene job. I am older too. My proud spirit of being a professional has been broken by the dominating doctors and other staff members. It seems like the hygienists get no respect at all. More like we are at the botton of the ladder getting dumped on for everything. Even the assistants in one office said they were too busy to help us with developing radiographs or offering any help to hygienists. But there they were, standing around talking to each other waiting to be called by the DDS. I am mentally broken and exhausted, and find no desire to return school for another career. I wonder if a new work environment would be like the hygiene field.
Sorry to be so negative. I'm just burned out by all the demands of the dentists and the non-cooperative environment by the staff
However, thank you for writing back about your experiences! I don't feel so alone. Good luck. Let me know what
you are doing. Sincerely, Sue, Chicago Heights, IL

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Don in Lafayette, Indiana

18 months ago

Lindsea Smith in Denver, Colorado said: Can anyone please give me an insight into which career field is better as far as job growth and career satisfaction. I am looking for a career change and I am thinking about either going to the Community College of Denver for Dental Hygiene or ACC for PTA. Which would be the better choice?

Thank you for everyone's help.


I too am looking to change career field and was looking between these two. Thanks for the question posting and all the great responses.

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Don in Lafayette, Indiana

18 months ago

I too am looking to change career fields between these two areas. The comments are very helpful.

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Cleanteeth in Dover, Delaware

15 months ago

I felt that way at my old job. Then I landed a new job where I am VERY happy. I look back and I am so grateful to be where I am now. I love my job and everyone I work with. If you are not happy I would cut back 1 or 2 days or take some vacation and start looking for something else on those days off. Good jobs are a rare gem but they are out there!

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kingsley in Winnipeg, Manitoba

15 months ago

Young undergraduate.. a couple of months before i send my application either to DH Or PT ..kind of scared ...to apply for DT coz of the comments i have read from this forum..but is there anyone who is in Canada that feel the same way, or would like to advice me or give me a head start..
Am capable of doing both.
Thanks

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waterbug100 in Duncan, British Columbia

14 months ago

kingsley...really..the question again!! Why are you asking that question??? All the posts on these threads DO apply to you as well as EVERYONE else. WHY are you asking this question? I just don't get it?

You've read some of the posts..what about the mountains of other threads..they all say the same thing don't they? DO NOT GO INTO DH!!

What do you mean..is there anyone else in Canada who feels the same way..?? Honestly, I'm beginning to really wonder about the intelligence of the younger generation!! Of course there are other Candadians who feel the same way..have you read any other thread than this one??

Do ANYTHING else than DH. It's a dying, repetitive, tough, grinding, mind numbing, soul destroying, anxiety ridden JOB.

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kingsley in Winnipeg, Manitoba

14 months ago

waterbug100 in Duncan, British Columbia said: kingsley...really..the question again!! Why are you asking that question??? All the posts on these threads DO apply to you as well as EVERYONE else. WHY are you asking this question? I just don't get it?

You've read some of the posts..what about the mountains of other threads..they all say the same thing don't they? DO NOT GO INTO DH!!

What do you mean..is there anyone else in Canada who feels the same way..?? Honestly, I'm beginning to really wonder about the intelligence of the younger generation!! Of course there are other Candadians who feel the same way..have you read any other thread than this one??

Do ANYTHING else than DH. It's a dying, repetitive, tough, grinding, mind numbing, soul destroying, anxiety ridden JOB.

Thank you for your reply. Am going to take up a different path..
Who else has an idea about the pros and cons of PH

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