Dental nurses are also known as dental hygienists in U.S. They work in dentists offices and they provide teeth cleaning services and preventative care education. The tasks dental hygienists perform vary by state but can include taking x-rays, applying sealants, administering anesthesia and removing sutures. Many hours spent standing or leaning over patients is often required. Some dentists tend to hire dental nurses or hygienists part-time, and many of these professionals who wish to work full-time may find employment in several different offices.
Requirements for this career include completing an accredited dental hygiene associate's degree or certificate program and obtaining licensure.
Key skills required for dental nurses are an attention to detail, good interpersonal skills, dexterity, compassion, and the ability to operate dental x-ray machinery and use dental instruments. Dental hygienists earned a median annual salary of in May 2015 of $72,330, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS).
It is estimated that there are approximately 26,000 to 29,000 dental assistants in USA and nearly 20,000 are registered with a provincial dental assisting association. Of those 20,000 dental assistants approximately 74% are certified/licensed, 99% are female and the average age is 38 years old.