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So, You Want To Become A Dental Hygienist in Canada?


Today's post is aimed at shedding light on a specific position amongst the Dentistry profession. That being a Dental Hygienist. We will cover what specifically they do, how to become one, where you can get a job and how important they are. We will also touch on the dentistry profession itself and talk about the expected salary or compensation that comes along with being a dental hygienist. So, to start with, who are dental hygienists?

Dental hygienists

Dental Hygienists are health and hygiene professionals saddled with the responsibility to provide oral health support and services that complement the duties of the dentist. They promote preventive oral health and also work to help dental patients maintain high level of dental hygiene. Likewise, they also engage in various other dental routines as required by the scope of operation in various dental practices and as a dentist deems fit. But before going into the detail of a dental hygienists duties, it will be a good idea to briefly talk about the qualification and certification requirements needed to become a dental hygienist in Canada.

Dental Hygienist School

The first thing you are going to need is a high school diploma. After that there are a couple ways to becoming a dental hygienist. Ontario specifically offers 2 to 3 year advanced diploma programs at most of their colleges. Ontario is definitely the major hub for dental hygiene schooling. Two universities in Canada offer bachelor of Dental Hygiene. Obtaining a degree from one of these schools will also allow you to teach dental hygiene as well. The two schools are the University of British Columbia and Dalhousie University. The third route you could take is to go to a private college as well. They are spread out across Canada. Although more expensive than the other 2 pathways, you can become certified in a shorter time and in as little as 18 months. A good example of a private hygiene school is Vancouver College of Dental Hygiene.

Students that graduate from an Accredited Dental Hygiene Program in Canada automatically will be granted permission to write the National Dental Hygiene Certification Board Exam with the NDHCB. Since VCDH is an accredited institution with the Commission on Dental Accreditation of Canada this allows students to write their board exam up to four months prior to the completion of the program. Once the student successfully passes the National Examination, they can apply for their license with the College of Dental Hygienists of British Columbia or the province of choice. In addition, because VCDH is an accredited institution it allows the students to also write the National Board examination in the USA. A Non Accredited Institution graduate must successfully pass the National Board exam (written) and also complete a practical examination held by the College of Dental Hygienists of British Columbia. There are additional fees associated with completing the practical exam.

What Does a Dental Hygienist Do?

It was stated earlier that hygienists in Dental practices are responsible for oral hygiene and also promote preventive measures as part of their duties. And in executing their responsibilities they are required a handful of tasks, and some of them include:

  • Taking x-rays

  • Taking dental impressions

  • Cleaning, polishing and applying fluoride to your teeth

  • In some provinces, the dental hygienist may be allowed to perform basic exams

  • Sterilization of dental instruments before operations

  • Clean up treatment room and also maintain uncontaminated and healthy-friendly environment

  • Counselling and encouraging dental patients

  • Removal and placement of periodontal dressings

  • Accessing dental health and medical history

  • Debridement and scaling of patients teeth and also help with teeth whitening tasks

Dental hygienists also work in line with the needs of dentists, but more importantly their responsibility varies depending on the dental practice. Some of the duties are done under the supervisions of dentists, while others are independently or with the help of a dental assistant.

Hints On Getting a Dental Hygienist Job

Below are some nuggets to help you secure your dental hygienist job on time:

  • Ensure to engage a www.dentalgigs.com recruitment specialist as they can help you obtain your dental job in a matter of time. Also, widen the scope of your job search both online and offline

  • Having a mentor in the dental industry can make your job search way easier than not having one at all

  • Register your details with a relevant dental establishment through their career portal. And when they are hiring, you have a better chance of being invited

  • There are also periodic industry job fairs that you can attend to boost your chance of securing a dental job

  • Subscribing for job alerts is also a good option

Benefits of Becoming a Dental Hygienist

For those contemplating whether or not to pick up dental hygiene as a career, it is essential to let you know that it is a career path that will you fulfillment. Check out some of the benefits associated with being a dental hygienist. The first is job security. Dental hygienists form the sixth largest regulated health profession in Canada with 29246 practitioners country wide. They are currently projected in the top 10 growth professions in Canada by 2020. ( Canadian Business Magazine) Part of the job security is that you provide services for the entire population. Covering all ages, male and female. Another great benefit of becoming a dental hygienist is flexible working hours. Dental practice is one of those few professions that allow workers to have flexible working time. You have access to work on your own terms; You can have your weekends to yourself and also determine how many hours or shifts you work daily. More importantly you may choose to work as a part time dental hygienist in case you have other engagements.

Dental Hygienist Salary

A huge advantage of becoming a dental hygienist is the remuneration. The median salary across the country according to a 2013 poll is $70,637. That works out to roughly $40.18/hr. Those under the age of 30 are reported to be making $36.57 for their roles and those surveyed over the age of 30 are reported to be making $42.96. If you want to be making top dollar in Canada you would need to head out west. Hygienists on average are paid more in Alberta and British Columbia compared to out east.  The average dental hygienist gets paid $45.93 per hour in BC.  Alberta hygienists get paid a whopping $51.86 per hour on average.  That is 37% above the national average.

Have Your Own Dental Hygiene Practice

Finally a huge benefit to becoming a dental hygienist is the amount of options you have to practise. 4% of dental hygienists have established their own practises outside of the dental office norm. Mostly in BC, Alberta and Ontario. You can also practise in a variety of settings, including private practice, hospital, public health, educational institution, long term care facility and research facilities. You can mix things up interprofessionally as well with denturists, dentists, nurses, physicians, massage therapists and chiropractors. Not to mention you can treat clients in different settings, from their homes, schools, mobile practices as well as long term care facilities.

Written by Curtis Bebek


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