Dental Hygiene as a Career

The MCCC Dental Hygiene Program is an A.A.S. educational program that prepares dental hygiene students to perform contemporary dental hygiene procedures in a variety of dental hygiene practice settings and/or to pursue an advanced degree. The Dental Hygiene faculty is composed of highly qualified, experienced educators who are dedicated to providing dental hygiene students with a quality, comprehensive, student-centered education that enables students to realize their professional goals. The challenging curriculum incorporates a variety of didactic, laboratory and clinical educational experiences and environments, both on campus and in the community. In addition to providing students with a quality education, the Program is committed to service to the community and providing quality patient care for the public.

Dental hygienists are licensed preventive oral health care professionals who specialize in providing preventive, educational and treatment services to assist both individuals and groups in achieving optimum oral health. Dental hygienists enjoy a flexible career and have the opportunity to work with people of all ages from a variety of cultural, ethnic and racial backgrounds. In order to become a licensed dental hygienist, dental hygiene students must graduate from an ADA accredited dental hygiene program and pass the National Dental Hygiene Board Examination and regional clinical examination.
Licensed dental hygienists have the exciting opportunity to serve the community in a variety of settings including, but not limited to, private dental practices, specialty practices, clinics, public health agencies, hospital settings, nursing homes, long-term care facilities, home health services, military service, government agencies and corporate health facilities. With an advanced degree, dental hygienists also work in other non-traditional work settings, including school systems, corporate sales, as educators in dental and dental hygiene programs and participate in health research and management.
Dental hygienists are highly valued and integral members of the oral health team. Their primary responsibilities in regards to direct patient care most commonly include assessment of medical and dental histories, taking and recording blood pressure and pulse, screening for oral cancer, examination of the teeth and gums, charting of oral conditions, exposing, processing and interpreting dental radiographs (x-rays), administration of local anesthesia (in PA), removing plaque and calculus from above and below the gum line, applying preventive agents to reduce/eliminate decay such as fluoride therapies and sealants, and providing individualized patient education.
The outlook for dental hygienists is strong due to the demand and need for preventive oral health care by a growing and aging population. According to the most recent Occupational Outlook Handbook by the U.S. Department of Labor’s Bureau of Labor Statistics, dental hygiene is one of the fastest growing occupations. Employment of dental hygienists is expected to grow 38% from 2010 to 2020. The Dental Hygiene Program maintains a list of job opportunities and provides students with assistance in career decisions. For more information on the outlook of the dental hygiene profession, please visit the Bureau of Labor Statistics.