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Career and Education Opportunities for Dental Hygienists in Fairfield, California

There are many career and education opportunities for dental hygienists in the Fairfield, California area. Currently, 22,400 people work as dental hygienists in California. This is expected to grow 36% to 30,400 people by 2016. This is not quite as good as the national trend for dental hygienists, which sees this job pool growing by about 36.1% over the next eight years. Dental hygienists generally clean teeth and examine oral areas, head, and neck for signs of oral disease.

The income of a dental hygienist is about $42 per hour or $87,460 per year on average in California. In the U.S. as a whole, their income is about $32 hourly or $66,570 yearly on average. Compared with people working in the overall category of Dental, people working as dental hygienists in California earn less. They earn less than people working in the overall category of Dental nationally. Dental hygienists work in a variety of jobs, including: registered dental hygienist , dental nurse, and oral hygienist.

There are sixteen schools of higher education in the Fairfield area, including one within twenty-five miles of Fairfield where you can get a degree to start your career as a dental hygienist. Given that the most common education level for dental hygienists is an Associate's, or other 2-year degree, you can expect to spend about two years studying to be a dental hygienist if you already have a high school diploma.

CAREER DESCRIPTION: Dental Hygienist

Dental Hygienist video from the State of New Jersey Dept. of Labor and Workforce Development

In general, dental hygienists clean teeth and examine oral areas, head, and neck for signs of oral disease. They also may educate patients on oral hygiene, take and develop X-rays, or apply fluoride or sealants.

Dental hygienists furnish clinical services and health education to further optimize and maintain the oral health of patients and the general public. They also clean calcareous deposits and stains from teeth and beneath margins of gums, using dental instruments. Equally important, dental hygienists have to feel and visually examine gums for sores and signs of disease. They are often called upon to record and review patient medical histories. They are expected to examine gums, using probes, to identify periodontal recessed gums and signs of gum disease. Finally, dental hygienists remove excess cement from coronal surfaces of teeth.

Every day, dental hygienists are expected to be able to articulate ideas and problems. They need to listen to and understand others in meetings. It is also important that they evaluate problems as they arise.

It is important for dental hygienists to feel lymph nodes under patient's chin to uncover swelling or tenderness that could indicate presence of oral cancer. They are often called upon to maintain patient recall system. They also expose and develop x-ray film. They are sometimes expected to chart conditions of decay and disease for diagnosis and treatment by dentist. Somewhat less frequently, dental hygienists are also expected to conduct dental health clinics for community groups to augment services of dentist.

Dental hygienists sometimes are asked to apply fluorides and other cavity preventing agents to arrest dental decay. They also have to be able to administer local anesthetic agents and make impressions for study casts. And finally, they sometimes have to place and remove rubber dams and temporary restorations.

Like many other jobs, dental hygienists must be reliable and have exceptional integrity.

Similar jobs with educational opportunities in Fairfield include:

  • Licensed Practical Nurse. Care for ill, injured, or disabled persons in hospitals, nursing homes, and similar institutions. May work under the supervision of a registered nurse. Licensing required.
  • Radiological Technician. Maintain and use equipment and supplies necessary to demonstrate portions of the human body on x-ray film or fluoroscopic screen for diagnostic purposes.
  • Radiology Technologist. Take x-rays and Computerized Axial Tomography (CAT or CT) scans or administer nonradioactive materials into patient's blood stream for diagnostic purposes. Includes technologists who specialize in other modalities, such as computed tomography, ultrasound, and magnetic resonance.
  • Respiratory Therapist. Assess, treat, and care for patients with breathing disorders. Assume primary responsibility for all respiratory care modalities, including the supervision of respiratory therapy technicians. Initiate and conduct therapeutic procedures; maintain patient records; and select, assemble, and operate equipment.
  • Surgical Technician. Assist in operations, under the supervision of surgeons, registered nurses, or other surgical personnel. May help set up operating room, prepare and transport patients for surgery, adjust lights and equipment, pass instruments and other supplies to surgeons and surgeon's assistants, hold retractors, and help count sponges, needles, and instruments.

EDUCATIONAL OPPORTUNITIES: Dental Hygienist Training

Diablo Valley College - Pleasant Hill, CA

Diablo Valley College, 321 Golf Club Rd, Pleasant Hill, CA 94523. Diablo Valley College is a large college located in Pleasant Hill, California. It is a public school with primarily 2-year programs and has 19,768 students. Diablo Valley College has an associate's degree and a two to four year program in Dental Hygiene/Hygienist which graduated twelve and nineteen students respectively in 2008.

CERTIFICATIONS

Oral and Maxillofacial Surgeon Associate Fellow: Your Associate Fellow certificate lets your patients know that you are an experienced, credentialed implant professional.

For more information, see the American Academy of Implant Dentistry website.

Certified Dental Technician: Certification is the process of assessing a dental technician's knowledge and applied skill level necessary to perform the tasks required of a dental technician.

For more information, see the National Board for Certification in Dental Laboratory Technology website.

LICENSES

Dental Hygienist, Registered

Licensing agency: Department of Consumer Affairs
Address: Committee on Dental Auxiliaries, 1428 Howe Avenue, Suite 58, Sacramento, CA 95825

Phone: (916) 263-2595
Website: Department of Consumer Affairs Committee on Dental Auxiliaries

Extended Functions - Dental Auxiliaries (Dental Hygienist)

Licensing agency: Department of Consumer Affairs
Address: Committee on Dental Auxiliaries, 1428 Howe Avenue, Suite 58, Sacramento, CA 95825

Phone: (916) 263-2595
Website: Department of Consumer Affairs Committee on Dental Auxiliaries

LOCATION INFORMATION: Fairfield, California

Fairfield, California
Fairfield, California photo by Ryanloney

Fairfield is located in Solano County, California. It has a population of over 103,683, which has grown by 7.8% over the last ten years. The cost of living index in Fairfield, 143, is far greater than the national average. New single-family homes in Fairfield are valued at $197,000 on average, which is far less than the state average. In 2008, thirty-four new homes were constructed in Fairfield, down from one hundred eighty the previous year.

The top three industries for women in Fairfield are health care, educational services, and public administration. For men, it is construction, public administration, and health care. The average travel time to work is about 30 minutes. More than 20.4% of Fairfield residents have a bachelor's degree, which is lower than the state average. The percentage of residents with a graduate degree, 6.1%, is lower than the state average.

The unemployment rate in Fairfield is 13.1%, which is greater than California's average of 12.3%.

The percentage of Fairfield residents that are affiliated with a religious congregation, 37.4%, is less than both the national and state average. The largest religious groups are the Catholic Church, the American Baptist Churches in the USA and the Southern Baptist Convention.

Fairfield is home to the Fairfield City Hall and the Dickson Hill Water Treatment Plant as well as Tabor Park and Sunrise Park. Shopping malls in the area include Geri Towne Shopping Center, Mission Village Shopping Center and Solano Mall Shopping Center.