Dental Hygiene (A.A.S.)

Patient Information 

What is a Dental Hygienist?Image of male Dental Hygienist

A dental hygienist is a licensed primary oral health care professional. The dental hygienist is a clinician, oral health educator, health promoter, consumer advocate, administrator, and researcher. The goal of dental hygiene is to assist individuals in achieving and maintaining optimal oral health. 

A wide range of settings is available for the practice of a dental hygienist, such as private dental offices, community clinics, hospitals, chronic care facilities, public health departments, educational institutions and research centers. 

Dental hygienists are regulated by state legislation. Generally the responsibilities of a dental hygiene clinician include the development, implementation and evaluation of a dental hygiene plan of care based on the client's needs: 

  1. Assessment: i.e. examining, assessing, and documenting oral conditions including those of the head and neck region through the use of clinical measurements, radiographs and other assessment methods.
  2. Planning:
  • Development of individualized oral hygiene programs for home care;
  • Development of a professional dental hygiene plan of care to meet the client's needs;
  • Diet analysis and counseling for dental caries control and prevention;
  • Educating clients regarding oral health planning;
  • Conducting oral health programs in the community.
  1. Implementation: i.e. non- surgical periodontal therapy (removing disease-related deposits on the tooth surface such as plaque and calculus as well as unsightly tooth stains for cosmetic purposes) applying decay preventing agents such as fluoride and sealants. 
  2. Evaluation: i.e. evaluating the success of a home care oral hygiene program evaluating the dental hygiene plan of care and with the client's satisfaction of that care plan.

Patient Resources

American Dental Hygienists' Association
American Dental Association
Dental Consumer Advisor
Dental Quackery

Dental Web Sites

Patient Education
Sports Dentistry
Proctor and Gamble
American Academy of Pediatric Dentistry