Dental Hygienist

Starting Salary

NC Triangle area

Median Annual Wage

NC Triangle area
% Associate's degree
% Bachelor's degree

Job Outlook

NC Triangle area

Annual Job Openings

NC Triangle area
Dental hygienists provide dental care that promotes good oral health and helps prevent or repair problems with patients’ teeth. A typical day involves examining patients’ teeth and gums for cavities and disease, cleaning and polishing teeth, and teaching patients proper brushing and flossing techniques. Hygienists wear gloves, safety glasses and surgical masks, and follow strict safety procedures at all times. Most take x-rays of patients’ teeth. To be successful in this profession, you must be detail-oriented, and have the ability to work well with your hands. You can expect daily interaction with many different people from all walks of life. While almost all dental hygienists work in dentists offices, about half work part-time. Since dentists often hire hygienists for a few days per week, some hygienists work for more than one dentist to reach full-time hours in the field. An associate’s degree in dental hygiene is required for this profession, and usually takes three years to complete. All states also require dental hygienists to be licensed.

Students who wish to pursue a bachelor's degree in Dental Hygiene should complete the Associate in Arts (AA) degree which will transfer to the Bachelor of Science in Dental Hygiene (BSDH) program offered at UNC-Chapel Hill.