How to Hire a Dental Hygienist

Does your growing business need a dental hygienist? A dental hygienist supports the dental office by performing and preparing dental procedures, providing preventive care to patients and assisting dentists.

Here are tips to help you find great dental hygienist candidates and make the right hire for your business.

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Dental hygienists searching for jobs on Indeed*

116,894

Job seekers that clicked dental hygienist jobs

32,705

Resumes for job seekers with dental hygienist experience on Indeed

18,771

Dental hygienist jobs that received clicks

What is the cost of hiring dental hygienist?

  • Common salary in US: $38.43 hourly
  • Typical salaries range from $17.40$67.50 hourly
  • Find more information on Indeed Salary

*Indeed data (US) – April 2021

As of April 2021, dental hygienist jobs in the U.S. are very competitive compared to other job markets, with an average of 6.2 job seekers per dental hygienist job.

Why hire a dental hygienist?

A dependable dental hygienist supports dental offices by preparing patient records and performing preliminary dental procedures. Choosing the right candidate for a dental hygienist helps in making sure patients receive the highest care and quality dental services. A dental hygienist can:

• Maintain patients’ dental and medical histories and records
• Prepare dental charts for patients as per the dentist’s observations
• Develop patients’ teeth molds for dental procedures, such as bridges, dentures and prostheses

Deciding between a full-time vs freelance dental hygienist

Dental offices can hire a freelance dental hygienist and dental assistant to come in a few days a week and perform hygiene procedures. For small offices, this can keep operative costs down while giving patients the option of coming there for hygienic work. Even if an office has a full-time hygienist, it can employ a freelancer to take on extra work.

They can also hire freelancers to fill in for full-time dental hygienists when the usual doctor has a vacation or is ill. Most large dental offices, however, have at least one full-time hygienist on the payroll. 

What are the types of dental hygienists?

Dental hygienists may have experience performing several procedures, but they can specialize in different types of dental issues. Some of these specialties include:

  • Caries: A dental hygienist who specializes in caries has extensive experience dealing with cavities. They’re responsible for drilling the affected tooth, filling in the cavity and polishing the filling.
  • Gingivitis: These dental hygienists help patients afflicted with this condition reverse it and learn to care for their teeth more efficiently. 
  • Periodontitis (advanced gum disease): They’re responsible for slowing the progression of the disease by removing unhealthy tissue from patients’ gums and instructing them in follow-up care. 
  • Halitosis: There are dental hygienists who treat patients with bad breath. Halitosis has various underlying causes that these hygienists have experience treating. 
  • Hyperdontia: Dental hygienists can specialize in treating issues that have been caused by overcrowding in the mouth. Too many teeth can cause difficulty in reaching cavities and plaque. 

Where to find dental hygienists

To find the right dental hygienist for your business, consider trying out a few different recruiting strategies:

  • Ask local dental schools. Dental schools in the area may be able to give you information about recent graduates who are looking for work in the area. Connect with these graduates and set up interviews. 
  • Network. Talking with other dentists’ offices and dental hygienists can generate leads for potential candidates. Reach out to these candidates to set up meetings. 
  • Post help wanted signs. Posting signs about the open position is a traditional and often effective way to raise awareness about the job and encourage people to send in applications. 
  • Post your job online. Try posting your dental hygienist job on Indeed to find and attract quality dental hygienist candidates.

What are the types of dental hygienists?

Dental hygienists may have experience performing several procedures, but they can specialize in different types of dental issues. Some of these specialties include:

  • Caries: A dental hygienist who specializes in caries has extensive experience dealing with cavities. They’re responsible for drilling the affected tooth, filling in the cavity and polishing the filling.
  • Gingivitis: These dental hygienists help patients afflicted with this condition reverse it and learn to care for their teeth more efficiently. 
  • Periodontitis (advanced gum disease): They’re responsible for slowing the progression of the disease by removing unhealthy tissue from patients’ gums and instructing them in follow-up care. 
  • Halitosis: There are dental hygienists who treat patients with bad breath. Halitosis has various underlying causes that these hygienists have experience treating. 
  • Hyperdontia: Dental hygienists can specialize in treating issues that have been caused by overcrowding in the mouth. Too many teeth can cause difficulty in reaching cavities and plaque. 

Writing a dental hygienist job description

Writing a complete job description includes a list of job duties, responsibilities and necessary skills to find suitable dental hygienist candidates.

When writing your dental hygienist job description, consider including some or all of the following keywords to improve the visibility of your job posting. These are the most popular search terms leading to clicks on dental hygienist jobs, according to Indeed data:

  • Dental hygienist
  • Hygienist
  • Dental
  • Dental hygiene
  • Registered dental hygienist
  • Dental office
  • Dental assistant
  • Dental hygienists
  • RDH
  • Dental hygenist

Interviewing dental hygienist candidates

For a comprehensive interview with suitable candidates for dental hygienists, it’s essential to compare the knowledge and skills of all potential hires.

• Proficiency in dental hygiene knowledge and practice
• Knowledge and experience of dentist practices, including basic dental procedures
• How they’ve excelled at providing support to dentist practices and increasing customer service and growing the dental practice

Need help coming up with interview questions? See our list of dental hygienist interview questions for examples (with sample answers).

FAQs about how to hire a dental hygienist

Can dental hygienists work part-time?

Yes, many dental hygienists operate part-time.

Do I need to hire a dental hygienist?

To manage a fully functioning dental office, a dental hygienist is required. If you have the necessary training and certifications to operate as a hygienist, you can fulfill that role in your business. 

What do dental hygienists wear?

Due to the nature of their jobs, dental hygienists often wear gloves and disposable gowns during the treatment of patients. Their equipment also includes surgical masks and protective goggles. 

Can you see a hygienist without seeing a dentist?

Dental hygienists can perform most of their procedures without prescriptions from dentists. The exception to this is tooth whitening. 

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