How to Become a Dental Hygienist
Dental hygienists work under the supervision of qualified dentists to assist with check-ups, teeth cleaning and whitening, and educating patients on the correct methods of oral care. This is a mid-level dentistry career that provides job security and a decent income.
Trained to perform specific clinical treatments to prevent disease, dental hygienists remove plaque, tartar and stains from teeth, administer fluoride treatments, and expose and process x-rays. They can work in private practices, community health centres, childcare centres, schools and aged care facilities.
Discover how you can pursue a rewarding career as a dental hygienist with the necessary dental hygienist course.
Top Traits of a Dental Hygienist
Caring Bedside Manner
Some patients can be nervous about dental check-ups and treatments. In fact, research shows a whopping 83% of Australian adults admit they’re anxious about visiting the dentist, and 78% admit to delaying visits for this reason. Dental hygienists should be compassionate and understanding about their patients’ fears and help them feel as comfortable and calm as possible.
Passion for Oral Health
A large part of a dental hygienist’s role is to educate patients on oral hygiene and nutrition to help prevent dental problems down the track. If you’re passionate about oral health and health in general, you can be a genuine role model and advocate for good oral health practices.
Strong Communication Skills
Along with educating patients on oral health, dental hygienists are required to explain the steps behind dental treatments in terms their patients can understand. Clear communication is key to ensuring everyone is on the same page and processes can run smoothly.
Attention to Detail
Dental hygienists work in the confined spaces of the mouth, so it’s important they can pay careful attention to every small detail. Whether you’re using sharp tools to remove plaque or you’re applying a whitening agent, a detail-oriented personality (and dexterity) will allow you to perform treatments safely.
Requirements to Work as a Dental Hygienist
To work as a registered dental hygienist in Australia, you’re required to complete a qualification in oral health (discussed below).
You may also be required to obtain a National Police Certificate, Provide First Aid Certificate and Working with Children Check, and fulfil immunisation requirements before undertaking clinical placements required by your course.
Upon successful completion of your dental hygienist course, you’ll need to apply to register with the Australian Health Practitioner Regulation Agency (AHPRA).
Dental Hygienist Courses
You must complete a VET qualification in oral health to work as a qualified dental hygienist in Australia. If you’re interested in becoming a dental hygienist, Foundation Education has relevant courses to kickstart your career in oral health.
A HLT45015 Certificate IV in Dental Assisting - Oral Health Promotion Specialisation will qualify you to work as a dental assistant and perform oral health care procedures. You’ll gain the knowledge and skills to process reusable medical devices and equipment and comply with infection prevention and control policies and procedures.
This nationally recognised qualification teaches you how to encourage good oral health practices, promote your own oral health program, and implement an individualised oral hygiene program. You’ll work alongside a dentist, dental therapist or dental hygienist, assisting with a range of oral health procedures.
A HLT45015 Certificate IV in Dental Assisting can open doors to a rewarding career as a dental hygienist.
Learn more about our HLT45015 Certificate IV in Dental Assisting - Oral Health Promotion Specialisation or browse all our dental courses here.
Think you’d enjoy advising patients and the community on good oral health techniques? Take the first step with a HLT45015 Certificate IV in Dental Assisting with a specialisation in oral health promotion. Call 1300 616 197 to learn more or enrol today.