Profession dental hygienist

dental hygienist

Dental hygienists clean teeth and examine oral areas, head, and neck for signs of oral disease. May educate patients on oral hygiene, take and develop X-rays, or apply fluoride or sealants.

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Personality Type

Tasks dental hygienist

  • Perform dental assessment of patients, e.g. by examining gums for sores and signs of disease.
  • Expose and develop dental x-rays.
  • Clean teeth and gums, e.g. by removing deposits or stains and polishing teeth.
  • Perform preventative dental procedures, such as fluoride treatments and applying sealants to fissures.
  • Educate and advise patients on dental health, plaque control, oral hygiene and nutrition.
  • Apply local anaesthetic for dental procedures.
  • Make impressions of patients' mouths for the construction of study casts and mouth guards.
  • Assist dentists with procedures and treatments, e.g. by polishing tooth restorations.
  • Assist in the prevention and control of dental caries and gum disease.
  • Apply and remove periodontal packs and assist in periodontal disease control.
  • Report on patients' condition.

Related professions dental

  • Dental assistant
  • Dental prosthesis technician
  • Dentist


  • Empathise with the healthcare user

    Understand the background of clients` and patients’ symptoms, difficulties and behaviour. Be empathetic about their issues; showing respect and reinforcing their autonomy, self-esteem and independence. Demonstrate a concern for their welfare and handle according to the personal boundaries, sensitivities, cultural differences and preferences of the client and patient in mind.

  • Promote health and safety policies in health services

    Promote adherence to local, regional, national and EU Health and Safety legislation, policies, guidelines and protocols.

  • Apply organisational techniques

    Employ a set of organisational techniques and procedures which facilitate the achievement of the goals set. Use these resources efficiently and sustainably, and show flexibility when required.

  • Deal with patients' anxiety

    Recognise and handle the fears of patients undergoing a dental treatment.

  • Listen actively

    Give attention to what other people say, patiently understand points being made, asking questions as appropriate, and not interrupting at inappropriate times; able to listen carefully the needs of customers, clients, passengers, service users or others, and provide solutions accordingly.

  • Interact with healthcare users

    Communicate with clients and their carer’s, with the patient’s permission, to keep them informed about the clients’ and patients’ progress and safeguarding confidentiality.

  • Provide health education

    Provide evidence based strategies to promote healthy living, disease prevention and management.

  • Work in multidisciplinary health teams

    Participate in the delivery of multidisciplinary health care, and understand the rules and competences of other healthcare related professions.

  • Work in a multicultural environment in health care

    Interact, relate and communicate with individuals from a variety of different cultures, when working in a healthcare environment.

  • Counsel on nutrition and its impact on oral health

    Counsel patients about good nutrition and its impact on oral health.

  • Apply antibacterial substance to teeth

    Apply preventive and prophylactic substances, such as sealants and fluoride, to the teeth according to the dentist`s directions and under the dentist` supervision.

  • Contribute to continuity of health care

    Contribute to the delivery of coordinated and continuous healthcare.

  • Develop a collaborative therapeutic relationship

    Develop a mutually collaborative therapeutic relationship during treatment, fostering and gaining healthcare users' trust and cooperation.

  • Communicate effectively in healthcare

    Communicate effectively with patients, families and other caregivers, health care professionals, and community partners.

  • Accept own accountability

    Accept accountability for one`s own professional activities and recognise the limits of one`s own scope of practice and competencies.

  • Educate on oral healthcare and disease prevention

    Educate patients on improving oral healthcare and preventing dental diseases, promoting brushing, flossing, and all other aspects of dental care according to the dentist`s directions and under the dentist`s supervision.

  • Remove calculus, plaque and stains

    Remove calculus, plaque, and stains from all surfaces of the teeth according to the dentist`s directions and under the dentist`s supervision.

  • Use e-health and mobile health technologies

    Use mobile health technologies and e-health (online applications and services) in order to enhance the provided healthcare.

  • Apply health sciences

    Apply a broad range of bio-medical, psycho-social, organisational, educational, and societal aspects of health, disease, and healthcare to improve healthcare services and to improve quality of life.

  • Perform dental radiographs

    Take and develop dental radiographs or x-rays for patients, by properly positioning the patient and film/image receptor to take intra- and extra-oral radiographs, applying all regulations for patient safety (shielding, operator protection, beam collimation).

  • Ensure safety of healthcare users

    Make sure that healthcare users are being treated professionally, effectively and safe from harm, adapting techniques and procedures according to the person's needs, abilities or the prevailing conditions.

  • Perform dental charting

    Create a dental chart of the patient`s mouth in order to provide information on tooth decay, cavities, missing teeth, the depths of gum pockets, abnormalities in teeth such as rotations, erosion or abrasions in the teeth or enamel, damage to teeth, or the presence of prosthetic teeth according to the dentist`s directions and under the dentist`s supervision.

  • Respond to changing situations in health care

    Cope with pressure and respond appropriately and in time to unexpected and rapidly changing situations in healthcare.

  • Manage infection control in the facility

    Implement a set of measures to prevent and control infections, formulating and establishing health and safety procedures and policies.

  • Perform dental hygiene interventions

    Intervene in dental hygiene to eliminate and control local etiologic factors, in order to prevent caries, periodontal diseases and other oral conditions, or control them when they occur according to the dentist`s directions and under the dentist`s supervision.

  • Follow dentists' instructions

    Work directly with dentists by following their detailed instuctions.

  • Polish dental restorations

    Maintain metal, gold and amalgam dental restorations by polishing in order to mitigate the effects of surface corrosion and maintain the esthetic appearance of the restoration according to the dentist`s directions and under the dentist`s supervision.

  • Deal with emergency care situations

    Assess the signs and be well-prepared for a situation that poses an immediate threat to a person's health, security, property or environment.  

  • Follow clinical guidelines

    Follow agreed protocols and guidelines in support of healthcare practice which are provided by healthcare institutions, professional associations, or authorities and also scientific organisations.

  • Promote inclusion

    Promote inclusion in health care and social services and respect diversity of beliefs, culture, values and preferences, keeping in mind the importance of equality and diversity issues.

  • Comply with legislation related to health care

    Comply with the regional and national legislation that is relevant to one`s work and apply it in practice.

  • Apply context specific clinical competences

    Apply professional and evidence based assessment, goal setting, delivery of intervention and evaluation of clients, taking into account the developmental and contextual history of the clients, within one`s own scope of practice.

  • Evaluate clinical outcomes of dental hygiene interventions

    Evaluate the outcome of a dental hygiene intervention using indices, instruments, examination techniques, and feedback from the patient and others in order to improve patient health according to the directions and supervision of the dentist.

Optional knowledge and skills

keep records for dental prostheses employ foreign languages in care inform policy makers on health-related challenges

Source: Sisyphus ODB